Accord secures a 6-figure sum for unfair treatment
Joseph (not his real name) worked for his employer for almost 25 years and loved his job. He turned to Accord for support and guidance during a difficult period. Little did he know that he’d end up successfully taking his employer to an Employment Tribunal for disability discrimination. This resulted in the member receiving a six-figure compensatory payment.
Accord’s Regional Officer, Chris Rimell said: “Joseph had a long-term illness that required treatment and was off for some time. Later, he wanted to return to work, but due to the continued effects of the treatment he needed reasonable adjustments to be in place. It was accepted that his illness was a disability under the Equality Act 2010, and reasonable adjustments were put in place without issue for a period. It was only later when his employer determined that they could no longer support the adjustments that things went wrong.”
With the support of Accord, Joseph put several suggestions to his manager to try and find a solution. One was to trial a change to the number of hours worked per day while maintaining his contractual hours. All his requests were declined, without them being trialled, and Joseph went back off sick for a lengthy period whilst redeployment was considered as an alternative.
The redeployment period ended without a suitable role being identified and Joseph’s employer sacked him. But Accord believed there was more his employer could and should have done.
Accord’s Regional Officer, Chris Rimell, said:
When approached to implement reasonable adjustments, an employer needs to consider carefully what’s being asked and whether it’s possible or not. In this case, the employer couldn’t show that the request was unreasonable – they presented reasons why they couldn’t do it, but their thought process was unreasonable.
Accord appointed solicitors to support Joseph’s case to Employment Tribunal and we’re delighted to say that justice was served – he received a six-figure compensatory award from his employer as a result.
It’s disappointing that this level of action was necessary and should serve as a warning to employers that all actions must be fully considered before deciding to dismiss.
I had to call upon Accord’s assistance to help me through my return to work and subsequent redeployment. My Regional Officer, Chris Rimell, was extremely helpful and highly knowledgeable, especially when I was asking for adjustments.
I can’t thank Accord enough for the support they provided, including their legal team.
Reasonable adjustments & redeployment as a reasonable adjustment
When someone has a disability or a long-term health condition that may be considered to meet the legal definition of disability, employers are expected to make reasonable adjustments.
For many cases, reasonable adjustments will be possible and relatively simple such as adjusting how or when someone works, assistive technology or physical adjustment, or an amendment to the types of duties they might have within their role.
However, when there are no suitable adjustments, the next step is to consider an alternative role – and employers are expected to support this.
Want to know more about disability, discrimination, and reasonable adjustments? Check out our interactive eBite guide Disability: Know your rights.