Two beauty therapists win £300,000 damages for RSI

The two former therapists who sued Virgin Atlantic for compensation after developing repetitive strain injury have been awarded £300,000 between them.

Michelle Hindmarsh, 32 and Jayne Evans, 40, were beauty therapists and masseuses at Virgin Atlantic’s Heathrow Airport first class lounge, the Clubhouse. Both claimed giving Shiatsu massages to overweight fully clothed businessmen had involved heavier hand and thumb pressure resulting in RSI.

Excessively long shifts and lack of rest and recuperation breaks for the therapists had made the problem worse, resulting in both being unable to continue their careers. The court decided to award the larger amount, £239,972, to Mrs Evans, taking into account her depression and anxiety after she realised she could no longer do the dream job she had trained for. She now works at Virgin’s cargo division in a clerical role which she finds ‘less congenial’.

Mrs Hindmarsh, who had moved on to a better-paid position in a different field, was awarded £69,458. Judge Martin McKenna found there was no substance to Virgin’s claims she had exaggerated her symptoms, saying she was obviously ‘a determined woman who was making the best of her situation’.

The court accepted the women’s health problems had been caused by over-long shifts, insufficient breaks and the fast pace they were forced to adopt due to flight scheduling being the main priority. Mrs Evans told the court she was very upset over losing her career as it was the job she’d always wanted to do. She added she now has problems with everyday task such as cutting vegetables, pushing a supermarket trolley. and lifting shopping bags.

Virgin Atlantic admitted responsibility for the pair’s injuries, but disputed the amount of compensation claimed.



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