A British Airways worker has been awarded £2,000 compensation for injury to feelings at an employment tribunal after she was sacked following surgery to treat her endometriosis.

Cordelle Scotland (39) took off from work after having a procedure for gynaecological conditions. A boss criticized her and suggested she could have swapped shifts with someone else.

Miss Scotland was a Heathrow Airport customer service representative. She failed her probationary in February 2019, and she was informed that she had been fired for being absent and late 13 times.

The tribunal found that Miss Scotland had been treated ‘unfavourably by her boss, Nicola Drinkwater. She also criticised her for failing to swap shifts following the operation.

Also, the tribunal stated Miss Scotland would be fired anyway because of her lateness. However, it awarded Miss Scotland compensation for her hurt feelings. She accepted BA’s offer of £2,000.

Fleet of Boeings 747 of British Airways standing on the apron of London Heathrow airport

British Airways’ fleet of Boeing 747s standing at the London Heathrow Airport apron

Miss Scotland, who had previously worked at BA for eighteen months, was told that her probation was already extended for lateness and absences. 

Miss Scotland sent an email to BA stating that she was due for an abdominectomy on December 11. This is due to fibroids and my endometriosis being at the point of disability. It also affects her work life greatly.

“To put things in perspective, the tumours have made my uterus twice as big as that of a 5-and-a half month baby. Although the recovery process takes approximately 4 weeks, I am concerned about how it may impact my probation.

“I must have the surgery at this time because I’ve been receiving treatment over the past three months to shrink my fibroids. It isn’t recommended that I continue this treatment beyond three months, as it may cause me to go into menopause. The November 14th will be my third and final treatment.

Her GP signed her off on December 15th.

BA advised Miss Scotland that her probationary period had ended February 2019. They stated Miss Scotland would lose her job because of her inability to attend work and her tardiness on 13 occasions during March 2018, February 2019, and February 2019.

Nicola Drinkwater (Heathrow Services Manager) added that she had taken into consideration the fact you had a December 11, 2018 planned procedure. She also stated: ‘I took into account that your GP has signed off on work for you between December 15, 2018, and February 2, 2019 because you are currently recovering.

“However, your seasonal roster allows you to switch shifts as well as work on the rest days that are available prior to or after your procedure.

Additionally, she cited “a further three instances of lateness” which occurred after an October 2018 review meeting that extended Miss Scotland’s probationary term ‘due both to your attendance and performance’.

Miss Scotland’s CEO Alex Cruz and Tom Stevens were emailed by Miss Scotland. They are BA’s Heads of Worldwide Airports.

When her probationary period ended in February 2019, BA informed Miss Scotland her employment would be terminated as 'your attendance level is unacceptable' and 'you have been late to work on 13 separate occasions between March 2018 and February 2019'

Miss Scotland was informed by BA that her probationary period had ended on February 2019. BA stated to Miss Scotland that her attendance rate was unacceptable and she would terminate her employment.


Endometriosis refers to a condition in which tissue that is similar to the lining the womb begins to grow elsewhere, like the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Women of all ages can be affected by endometriosis.

This is a chronic condition that can cause significant life-altering effects. However, there are ways to treat it.

Endometriosis symptoms can be varied. While some women may be very affected by endometriosis, others might not notice any symptoms.

These are the main signs.

pain in your lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during your period

Period pains that prevent you from doing the things you love

Sex pain can occur during or following sex.

Pain when you urinate or pee during your period

Feeling sick or diarrhoea during periods?

Problems getting pregnant


Elle added, “Nikki should then state that I had sorted my recovery with shift switches and leave. It is unfair and discriminatory.”

“My surgery was for endometriosis and uterine fioids. This is a rare condition that mostly affects Black women.

“Why would I expect to be covered for major surgery, leave and shift change?

Miss Scotland was dismissed by Miss Drinkwater after she stated that Miss Scotland had been late more than usual. She also said it was not her sickness, and there was no need for her to take on additional duties when she returned to work.

Miss Scotland filed claims against wrongful termination, discrimination due to race/or sex/disability and direct discrimination were rejected by the tribunal. The tribunal also determined that BA hadn’t failed to make reasonable adjustments because she was disabled.

The tribunal did not rule she was treated unfairly under the Equality Act. It considered her absence from the operation in terminating her contract, as well as her criticisms for not changing shifts.

Oliver Hyams as Employment Judge declared that “Ms Drinkwater did clearly consider in her decision the fact she was a woman.” [Miss Scotland]I had been absent from work for some time due to sickness. This was because of endometriosis. [BA]It was accepted that you had a disability.

“Ms. Drinkwater” criticised [Miss Scotland]For not switching shifts. This resulted in Ms Drinkwater not being able to see her as an example of a good spirit.

“That is how you treat [Miss Scotland]The criticism was only made because she couldn’t work after the surgery that was required to alleviate her disabilities.