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Case Study: Disability Discrimination Claim Succeeds Using a Damages Based Agreement


How our Employment Law Team helped an employee bring a successful disability discrimination and unfair constructive dismissal claim against their employer using a Damages Based Agreement.

The Situation

Diana was employed by The Cleaning Company Limited and worked across two train stations in Croydon.

Last year, Diana developed plantar fasciitis in her heel, making standing and walking painful. Diana found that wearing trainers to work, rather than boots, made walking less painful.

Diana had been wearing trainers for a few months when her manager announced that Network Rail were due to carry out an inspection. Diana was told that she must wear full work uniform, which included safety boots, irrespective of Diana’s duties. Diana told her manager that due to her plantar faciitis, these boots were too painful to wear and that she could only work in trainers. Diana’s manager sent her home.

Diana raised a grievance to The Cleaning Company. She complained about being asked to wear safety boots and being sent home for refusing. She also complained that she was not receiving pay despite being sent home, and she expressed concern that the Company had not paid her properly for travel time.

The Cleaning Company responded by offering to find Diana a role with one of its other clients. Diana expressed interest in different roles, but these were never followed up.

The Cleaning Company did not progress Diana’s grievance for over 3 months, until she complained to a Director.  The Director arranged for a grievance hearing to take place. It then took a further 2 months for the Company to write to Diana with their decision.  This decision did not explain the Company’s position and brushed over her serious complaints that she had not been treated fairly. The Company did not offer to make any efforts at all to support Diana back to work.

What Martin Searle Solicitors did

After outlining Diana’s options, Diana decided that she could no longer work for her employer because trust and confidence had broken down. We helped her to prepare her resignation letter, setting out in detail the company’s serious breaches.

We issued proceedings on Diana’s behalf in the Employment Tribunal.  The Cleaning Company defended her claims on the basis that it had acted reasonably and lawfully.

We represented Diana at a Preliminary Hearing and the judge made a number of directions.

The first of those required us to gather Diana’s medical records and prepare an impact statement to explain how her foot condition affected her in day-to-day life. The Cleaning Company then admitted that Diana was a disabled person.

We represented Diana at a 4-day hearing at the Croydon Employment Tribunal. This involved cross-examining 2 managers from The Cleaning Company about the contracts they held with Network Rail, the various risk assessment documents, and fact that a pair of safety trainers would have been just as safe as a pair of safety boots.

The Result

The Tribunal found that the Company should have allowed Diana to wear safety trainers instead of boots. The judge was critical of the Company’s managers for failing to seek an Occupational Health Report or other medical evidence, which would have allowed them to consider the health and safety issues properly.

The Tribunal found that The Cleaning Company should have paid Diana after she was sent home. Also that her grievance should have been handled much more efficiently.

Diana won her constructive unfair dismissal claim as the judge agreed that she was entitled to feel that trust and confidence had been lost as a result of the Company’s actions.  The Tribunal also supported her claims for disability discrimination and gave guidance as to what compensation it was likely to award.

The parties were able to conclude a final settlement for Diana for over £25,500.

Diana thanked our firm for the work we carried out, stating “I am so grateful for what you did for me. Without your help I don’t think I would have won”.

If you’ve been unfairly treated or dismissed due to your disability, contact us today on 01273 609911, or email

Martin Searle Solicitors, 9 Marlborough Place, Brighton, BN1 1UB
T: 01273 609 991

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