Woman feels “betrayed” by Marks & Spencer after asbestos exposure

26th June 2014

An ex-employee of Marks & Spencer says she feels “betrayed” by the firm, after it admitted that she had been exposed to asbestos.

Janice Allen, 53, has been diagnosed with mesothelioma, which is a form of lung cancer caused by the inhalation of asbestos fibres. There is no cure and she has just a few months to live, reports theguardian.com. Until recently, she was completely unaware that she had been exposed to the deadly fibres.

“The company used to portray itself like a family; they engendered loyalty,” she explains. “I worked very hard, I met my husband there. But to think beneath the surface they were exposing people to deadly risks, to asbestos, it’s so cynical. We were looking forward to enjoying life in the coming years; instead I have to face the fact I will not live to see my grandchildren.”

Mrs Allen worked in two Marks & Spencer stores between 1978 – 1987; its main store on Oxford Street and another store in Uxbridge. Some 25 years after leaving the company, she started to notice a pain near her ribs and was later diagnosed with cancer. Her lawyer suggested that M&S may to be blame, as it’d been fined for exposing employees to asbestos before, reports hereisthecity.com.

Back in 2011, M&S was found guilty of unsafe handling of asbestos in its Reading store and was fined £1 million.

Mrs Allen will receive a significant amount of damages from M&S, after admitting breaching its legal duty of care.