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Disabled scot wins compensation after being called a retard at work

Conor Adamson
Conor Adamson Image credit:

A disabled janitor was been awarded thousands of pounds in compensation after a member of The Student Housing Company Ltd verbally attacked him at work.

Conor Adamson, who has autism and ADHD, was called a “fucking retard” when he was working nightshifts at the company’s 422-dorm Brae House in Edinburgh in September 2019.

He won £9,500 in compensation after the case was taken to tribunal.

His manager at the time, Courtney Riley, joined in “laughing and sniggering” when one of his friends hailed abuse at Adamson.

Last week employment judge Jim Young stated the victim was targeted because of his disability.

Young said: “While it was not language used directly by Courtney Riley it was stated in his presence and he made no attempt to intervene with his friend(s) to desist from making that comment. 

“Indeed the evidence was that his reaction was encouraging of such comment.

“Clearly the comment by friends of Courtney Riley and being laughed at on account of his disability would be very hurtful for the claimant.”

The judge also challenged why Adamson was fired for swearing in the office saying it was “commonplace in the workplace” and Riley “using bad language as common currency”.

Following the case the decision to fire Conor was overturned.

Rob Holland, acting director of the National Autistic Society Scotland, told The Scottish Sun the case was “extremely concerning” and “highlights the harassment that sadly, many autistic people face on a daily basis.”

“No autistic employee should be abused or mistreated in this way, simply because they are autistic.

He added: “This is a clear sign that training and acceptance are desperately needed for staff and managers in order for that number to increase.”

Adamson’s Linkedin account suggests he returned to the workplace until June 2021, Riley left the business in December 2019.

A Student Housing Company spokesman said: “Due to privacy issues we are unable to comment on specific cases.

“As a business we pride ourselves on championing supportive teams that take diversity, equity and inclusion extremely seriously … discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated.”

According to the Office for National Statistics one in five autistic adults in the UK are in any kind of employment.