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Case Study: Helping a Disabled Employee get a Settlement for a Disability Discrimination Claim

Expert Employment Law Solicitors win a disability discrimination case resulting in their client being reinstated

How Laura Donnelly, Associate Employment Law Solicitor based in our Gatwick office, helped an employee on long term sick leave lodge her Disability Discrimination claim in the Employment Tribunal.

The situation

Cynthia worked for a greeting card company as a Financial Administrator. She suffers from kidney disease, which makes her vulnerable to infections. She requires sufficient rest in order to maintain good health and kidney function.

Her employer was aware of her health condition as she took time off to have a kidney transplant during her employment and attended regular hospital appointments. However, due to a lack of internal HR and management processes they did not put in place any measures to check on her health and assess how this would affect her in the workplace.

Cynthia worked part-time. When her line manager left, she agreed to accept an acting up role, on the promise that this would lead to a permanent role. Her employer failed to recruit to replace her former role, leaving her to carry out two roles alone and work extra hours. Despite various requests that the employer recruited another person to provide administrative help, her employer failed to provide her with any support.

As a result of fatigue and high stress levels Cynthia’s kidney function significantly deteriorated, leading to long-term sick leave.

After complaining to her employer, they began to recruit for a permanent replacement and told her she could go back to her original role.

Cynthia raised a formal grievance that she was being discriminated against due to her disability but her employer failed to progress this. Cynthia started the Acas Early Conciliation process.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

Cynthia came to us still employed but on long term sick leave. She had a formal grievance outstanding and had received an offer to terminate her employment via Acas with a settlement offering payment in lieu of her notice period only.

Unfortunately, as well as adversely affecting Cynthia’s physical health, the situation had also had a detrimental effect on her mental health and she was suffering from depression.

We assisted by writing directly to her employer, setting out her claims for disability discrimination. This included their failure to make reasonable adjustments and victimisation for recruiting to replace her after she complained of their failures and the detrimental effect on her health. We also made them aware that she was likely to have a future claim for constructive unfair dismissal if they failed to resolve the matter.

We helped Cynthia to strengthen her grievance by adding further detail about her disability discrimination complaints.

We also made a counter-offer to her employer to attempt to resolve amicably, which was not accepted and they refused to engage further in any further settlement discussions.

We issued Cynthia’s disability discrimination claims at the Employment Tribunal and included a personal injury claim as a result of Cynthia becoming mentally unwell.

Her employer defended all claims, initially disputing that she was disabled under the Equality Act and denied knowledge of her disability. This was later conceded when we provided them with medical evidence and a strong statement from Cynthia about the impact this unfair treatment had on her.

We conducted the Preliminary Hearing for Case Management and submitted a Schedule of Loss showing the maximum value of the amount of compensation being claimed for. We also obtained a favourable medical report to evidence the personal injury.

A Judicial Mediation was arranged to take place prior to a lengthy 7 day trial which would have involved significant cost. As a result of continued pressure, the employer began to engage in settlement discussions.

The result

After various rejections and counter-offers, we achieved a settlement of approximately £50,000 which covered our client’s loss of earnings for over a year and provided compensation for injury to feelings and personal injury.

Cynthia was extremely happy with the outcome. It enabled her to move on with her losses being covered for a significant period. This gave her the time to recover from this stresful situation before finding a new job. Cynthia felt vindicated as she had obtained additional compensation for the injury to feelings and personal injury she had suffered.

If you are experiencing disability discrimination in the workplace, contact our Employment Law team on 01273 609911, or email info@ms-solicitors.co.uk.

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