A bar manager who collapsed at her work Christmas party after being strangled by a colleague has won more than £6,000 in court.
Molly Phillips, 24, blacked out after being held in a headlock by chef Nathan Webb – and only discovered what had happened to her by watching CCTV.
Footage from the Cameo Club in Roath, Cardiff, showed the burly American Football player, 33, holding Ms Phillips around the neck until her hands go limp.
When he eventually released her, she collapsed on the floor and was attended to by other workers.
She was taken to hospital to get checked for a suspected stroke and she had no recollection of what happened, but the next day she went back after finding her mouth was sloping.
Doctors then told her that her injuries ‘were either caused by lack of oxygen or nerve damage’.
She has since learned that her facial paralysis is more permanent than first thought and she may never be able to smile again.
‘I can’t smile in photographs. People don’t notice it, but I notice it more than anything,’ Ms Phillips said.
‘If it’s still like that when I get married, I won’t be able to smile in my wedding photos. Things like that. It’s not nice.’
On March 19 she went to police and Mr Webb was arrested on May 8.
‘My opinion of Nathan changed and I realised he is a violent, nasty guy and that it was only a matter of time before another incident happened,’ she said.
Ms Phillips told company director Jason Pearce about the incident, but claims he responded by joking with Mr Webb saying: ‘All right buddy? Hear you’ve been choking girls lately’.
‘I had been assaulted by a colleague. When I tried to raise it with my employer they dismissed my complaints out of hand,’ she told Cardiff Magistrates Court.
Ms Phillips says the company directors carried on employing Mr Webb, causing her to feel ‘unsafe’ as a result.
She then resigned on May 16 and made an unfair dismissal claim against Pontcanna Pub Company Ltd.
Mr Webb remains employed as a chef at Cameo Club, the tribunal heard.
Judge Alison Frazer said Ms Phillips ‘was constructively unfairly dismissed’.
But the former bar manager says the winnings do not cover her own legal fees of £8,700.
The firm has been ordered to pay her £6,659.15 in compensation, combining a basic award of £508 with a compensatory award of £6,151.15.
‘I’m absolutely gutted. The fact that I didn’t get tips awarded means it’s about £6,000 that I haven’t got,’ Ms Philips said.
‘I borrowed all the money of my mum, so with the winnings I’m still in debt. I haven’t really got anything out of it.
‘I just think the other side were very sneaky about it all. It’s frustrating. But I’m glad it came out, what kind of people they are. Part of me wishes I never did it, but I get a lot of messages saying they’re glad I did it.’
Ms Phillips said she is still upset at how she was treated by her bosses, saying that after two and a half years of working there she realised she was ‘completely disposable’.
‘I was never asked if I was comfortable, how my medical condition was, nothing, she said.
A South Wales Police spokeswoman said a 33-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of assault and the investigation is ongoing.