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Woman doctor awarded £4.5m in discrimination case

A woman doctor has been awarded more than £4.5m compensation after a tribunal found she had been subjected to "outrageous" race and sex discrimination which made her feel suicidal.

Medical experts told the employment tribunal that Dr Eva Michalak had suffered "chronic and disabling" post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety, which had led to an "enduring personality change". She will never be able to work again.

Dr Michalak, who is Polish, had worked as an obstetrician at Pontefract General Infirmary, which is run by the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The employment tribunal in Leeds heard that senior staff members started planning how to get rid of her in March 2003 after she had become pregnant. She was subjected to complaints and criticism and was eventually suspended from duty in 2006 before being dismissed in 2008.

Giving judgment at the Leeds Employment Tribunal, Judge Burton said the Trust "embarked upon a campaign ... which was designed not only to get rid of her, but, in the process, to isolate her."

That procedure was "bogus" and Dr Michalak was dismissed "for no good or justifiable reason".

Judge Burton said: "As a consequence of that dismissal the claimant has lost her role and status as a hospital consultant, as we will ultimately find, she is never going to return to work as a doctor, a profession which she, in common with both of her parents, cherished together with all the status that that brings with it."

"It is right that in this case we are positively outraged at the way this employer has behaved."

The Trust and three members of staff at the hospital were ordered to pay Dr Michalak £4,452,206 for sex and race discrimination.

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