Real stories: Disability discrimination in the workplace
Claims for disability discrimination in the workplace are an increasingly prominent concern among our clients, who between them employ a hugely diverse workforce. Capability dismissals are particularly complex where the employee has a disability which impacts on their performance.
Withy King’s employment team recently advised a client in connection with an employee who had become unable to carry out his physically demanding role because of an illness that affected mobility. The employee’s illness was exacerbated by the activities that he was required to carry out for the performance of his duties. Initially, we assisted the client with formulating an interim solution whereby adjustments were made to the role and light duties were given to the employee.
As the employee’s condition deteriorated we provided continued advice on how to professionally and sensitively discuss solutions with the employee including suitable alternative roles within the business. Unfortunately, our client was unable to identify an alternative position for the employee to carry out on a long-term basis and after a period of further consultation his employment was terminated on capability grounds.
Malcolm Gregory comments “Dealing with disability in the workplace is a sensitive and challenging issue for everyone involved. By carrying out a genuine and meaningful period of consultation and review with the employee, a potentially damaging employment tribunal claim was avoided. Seeking sound legal advice can make the difference between a potentially uncapped award for damages in the Tribunal and a genuinely happier outcome. The employee feels that they have been treated with respect and dignity at a difficult time in their life and the employer is able to effectively manage their workforce without taking unnecessary risks.”