Jonas Gutierrez legal team comment on disability discrimination victory over Mike Ashley
The legal team that represented Jonas Gutierrez have talked about the player’s landmark victory over Mike Ashley and Newcastle United.
Successfully proving that Ashley and the club had discriminated against the player after he developed testicular cancer.
Carol Couse was the instructing solicitor in the case, attending court every day alongside the former Newcastle player and she said ‘This case demonstrates that football is not above the reach of employment law’.
She also added special praise for Jonas Gutierrez for his courage in standing up to the pressure brought to bear by the club, who had their legal team accuse Jonas of only bringing the action due to greed.
Carol Couse (Sports law expert at leading UK law firm Mills and Reeve)
“Having battled cancer on two occasions and subsequently suffered unfair treatment by the club as a result of this, Jonas is pleased that the Employment Tribunal has found in his favour and held that he was indeed discriminated against by Newcastle United due to his cancer diagnosis and treatment.
“As he alleged, it has been determined by the tribunal that the Newcastle United Board influenced team selection to prevent Jonas reaching the contractual trigger point to secure an extension to his contract.
“He wishes to place on record his thanks to all the Newcastle fans who have supported him throughout his case.
“This case demonstrates that football is not above the reach of employment law and clubs should be mindful of their duties to treat their playing staff in the same way as they would treat any other employee.
“Jonas Gutierrez had the strength of character to bring this claim under intense press scrutiny and derision from the club to highlight his unfair treatment.”
Martin Budworth was the barrister who represented Jonas Gutierrez, working at the Manchester based Kings Chambers, and he stated:
“It is very gratifying to have been able to help Mr Gutierrez in fighting for these findings especially when the club said his claims were ludicrous.
“The tribunal has made it clear that a Premier League football club owes the same duties to a disabled person as any other employer.”
(***Jonas returned to playing action on Sunday and with Deportivo trailing 1-0 at Sevilla, he came off the bench with 15 minutes remaining and five minutes later Deportivo were level – the match finishing 1-1)
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