Disgraced MP Fiona Onasanya is accused of discriminating against a disabled employee who was told to use the male toilet because she couldn’t climb the stairs, a tribunal heard
Jane Goodenough, who suffers from a host of medical problem, worked as a case worker for the former Labour MP on a part-time basis from September to November 2017.
But Ms Goodenough, who has multiple sclerosis, IBS, heart problems, chronic fatigue and arthritis, said problems with access to disabled lifts, parking and toilets at the Eco Innovation Centre in Peterborough left her unable to work there.
She said she had “no option but to resign” and that she had a “personality clash” with Ms Onasanya, who was jailed in January for lying to police over a speeding offence.
Giving evidence at a tribunal in Cambridge, the former employee said experienced a build up of “passive aggressive behaviour” after a discussion with the MP.
She said Ms Onasanya mispronounced the word “eligible” while on the phone to a constituent, and so she tried to correct her saying “illegible”.
She told the hearing: “She said it about seven times while on the phone and in front of a constituent. I had a notepad next to me and wrote ‘eligible not illegible’ and underlined it.”
It resulted in what she claimed was a “mildly heated discussion” with Ms Onasanya who “felt undermined” and had “taken offence”.
Ms Goodenough, who is in her 50s, said the MP “immediately insisted” that she started working full-time hours – something she had already explained she could not do due to her medical conditions.
Her agreed hours were 22 and a half hours a week, the equivalent to three working days.
During her employment she also claims she was made to use the male toilets on her floor as the nearest disabled and female lavatories were on other floors, and that the disabled lifts were broken.
The disabled employee was also allocated a parking space “50 paces from the front door of the building”, which required steps up to the entrance.
She resigned on November 7 2017. In an email sent to Ms Onasanya regarding her resignation, Ms Goodenough referenced the limited access to the toilets by the lift, the issue with her allocated parking space and the suggestion that was made to her about the male toilets.
Ms Onasanya, who will give evidence today [Thurs], is currently facing a recall petition that could result in a by-election in her constituency. She is now an independent MP.
The case, which is due to last three days, continues.