Security boss told employee to ‘grow up’ after cancer discovery

A man who had cancer was told by his boss to ‘grow up’ after asking to reduce the number of hours he worked as a result of his severe experimental treatment.

Steve Pointon was also told ‘don’t be a baby’ by bosses who dismissed his tragic circumstances after a working for them for over 13 years.

The 36-year-old dad was left in a perilous position after his contract with the security firm Alpha Omega had only statutory entitlement to sick pay.

The father-of-one was facing the prospect of a second child when he was diagnosed meaning Pointon faced the choice of continuing to work or support his growing family on statutory sick pay, which amounted to just £20 per day.

Alpha Omega owner Ken Lawton (centre right) and operations director Andy Taylor (centre left) with Ross Kemp (left) and Joe Egan (right) at the official opening of their new premises
Alpha Omega owner Ken Lawton (centre right) and operations director Andy Taylor (centre left) with Ross Kemp (left) and Joe Egan (right) at the official opening of their new premises

He agreed to work 32 of his usual 50 hours a week during his treatment in 2016 but he later resigned in November 2018 after the ordeal and claimed he had been forced out by bosses.

The series of shocking incidents were laid bare before and an employment tribunal this week who found Alpha Omega harassed, discriminated against and unfairly dismissed Mr Pointon.

Now an employment tribunal has found Alpha Omega harassed, discriminated against and unfairly dismissed Mr Pointon, according to Cheshire Live.

The tribunal heard that the company’s boss Ken Lawton – who was described by the employment judge as having a ‘lack of emotional intelligence’ – smashed up a phone after Mr Pointon had called in sick one day.

Mr Pointon had informed the Crewe-based company that, on the orders of his cancer consultant, he wouldn’t be able to take charge of security at the Stafford half-marathon.

The Cheshire dad was also contacted out of working hours, including the hand-delivery of a letter at 9.25pm on the night before he started treatment, and emailed when he was in hospital.

On that occasion, Mr Lawton emailed him demanding to know when he would be back in work, even though the treatment had ‘barely begun’.

A colleague, Andrew Taylor, told Mr Pointon not to ‘be a baby’ when he told him he was not prepared to work more than the four days a week agreed to during his cancer treatment.

Mr Taylor told him: “That’s not good enough. I am trying to run a multi-million-pound business and your lack of cooperation is not helping.

“You think this is out of order, when me and Ken discussed it over the weekend, he wanted to take this meeting in his office, and you know how much worse that would have been.

“Grow up, you are a senior manager, and you can’t expect to have every weekend off.”

The tribunal judgement report states that the harassment and lack of support from Mr Lawton made Mr Pointon feel ‘belittled, utterly worthless and completely deflated at a time when his family and him were going through an incredibly sensitive and emotional time’.

According to the report, Mr Pointon said he ‘tried as hard as he could to remain in work and do what he could’ but he struggled. He felt like he was ‘not supported in the slightest by the respondent and the management team in particular’.

The report continues that Mr Pointon was ‘made to feel as though he was not doing enough and that he was a burden upon them’. He couldn’t sleep and felt stressed out about his inability to work at the level expected of him.

Mr Pointon eventually resigned, claiming it was ‘at the culmination of the treatment [I] received from you, your fellow director and the company since my diagnosis of secondary cancer’.

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Employment Judge Gary Self ruled that Mr Pointon was unfairly forced out of the company. For unfair dismissal, injury to feelings and discrimination arising from disability, Mr Pointon was awarded £42,228.

Mr Pointon was keen to clarify his reasons for pursuing the claim.

In the report, it is stated: “[Mr Pointon] told us in his witness statement that this claim was not about the money but, in effect, to show that individuals did not have to be treated in the way that he was.”

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