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Adjustment to disabled employee’s redundancy criteria required

In Dominique v Toll Global Forwarding Ltd the employee was disabled having suffered a stroke. The employee was the lowest scoring employee in the redundancy pool. He was dismissed. The employee appealed his dismissal and presented claims of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination in the Employment Tribunals.

The Employment Tribunal rejected the employee’s claim that reasonable adjustments should have been made to the redundancy criteria as they put him at a substantial disadvantage when compared to employees who were not disabled. The Employment Tribunal held that, even if the employer had adjusted his score upwards by a reasonable amount, he would still have the lowest score and as a result would have been made redundant. The employee appealed.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal rejected most of the grounds of appeal but held that in relation to his claim for reasonable adjustments, the low score was of itself a disadvantage and the employer should have addressed this by way of adjustment.  Whilst an adjustment may not have prevented a dismissal it would have impacted upon the detriment flowing from the disadvantage and the injury to feelings. The case was remitted back to the tribunal to consider the specific point in issue.

This case demonstrates how far tribunals are prepared to go to protect disabled employees and to ensure that they do not suffer detriment including where that detriment is limited to injury to feelings. The reasonable adjustments duty is wide and employers would do well to consider all possible avenues and apply reasonable adjustments to all of their processes when dealing with a disabled employee.

Posted in: Employment

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