A Nigerian woman who had been unfairly dismissed from her job has asked to be reinstated instead of accepting a £500,000 pay out.
Ibukun Adebayo was until her dismissal, the manager of one of Princess Diana’s charities “Turning Point” in London. The charity appointed Princess Diana as a patron in 1985 after she was impressed with how the charity helped vulnerable people struggling with drug and alcohol abuse.
Mrs Adebayo spent nine years at the charity, managing 20 staff and a £1 million annual budget. The former £84,000-a-year IT director found “distressing and offensive” insults in emails from her boss David Hoare to the charity’s chief executive Lord Victor Adebowale, including one where she was called “Looney Tunes”. but rather than apologise, the duo conspired to get her out and sacked her from her job citing gross misconduct for unlawfully accessing the organisation’s emails.
Mrs Adebayo took her case to a jobs tribunal where the accusation of gross misconduct was upheld but the it was decided the management of the charity had acted unfairly and awarded her the £466,815 pay-off.
“I had no idea that colleagues who I had worked with for many years were making fun of me and had such a low opinion of me.
“I was suicidal, distressed and scared of what was going to happen … I need to work to re-establish my career. I need to be re-employed and that will show visibly and overtly that any stigma attached to me due to the dismissal was unwarranted. It would rehabilitate my career.”
But Chief Executive of the organisation, Lord Adebowale CBE, in appealing against her petition, claimed that she has set out on a long campaign since her dismissal “to embarrass and humiliate me”, raising complaints with politicians and public body chief executives — including former Liberal Democrat cabinet minister Vince Cable, copying in Prime Minister David Cameron, and Mark Hammond at the European Human Rights Commission, copying in Charlie Mayfield of John Lewis and Turning Point.
Lord Adebowale who was one of the first to become a People’s Peer.said: “I cannot see how Ibukun could return to Turning Point in light of this. She is seeking to cause embarrassment to the organisation and to myself personally.”
The hearing continues.