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Disabled School Technician Wins Substantial Damages After Unfair Dismissal

If you are disabled and have suffered unfair workplace treatment as a result, a lawyer will see to it that you are properly compensated. In a case on point, a school technician who was suffering from arthritis, anxiety and depression when he was sacked from his post was awarded substantial damages.

The man’s job involved the use of saws, guillotines and other hazardous equipment. Medication prescribed for his conditions caused nausea, dizziness and sedation, which impacted on his punctuality and required him to take periods of absence. He had been working at the school for over three years when he was dismissed on grounds of capability. His internal appeal against that decision failed.

He made complaints of disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments and unfair dismissal before an Employment Tribunal (ET).  All three complaints were upheld and he was awarded a total of £85,829 in compensation, including £16,000 for injury to his feelings.

The ET noted that his line manager had told him throughout the relevant period that he had no need to worry and that he should concentrate on getting better. He was at no point warned by management that his patchy attendance and lateness were causing any difficulties. There was no investigatory meeting, no warning that his job was at risk and no improvement plan.

His health problems were improving by the time of his dismissal and there was no evidence that his absences, lateness or short-term inability to use hazardous machinery impacted on students’ teaching experience or the level of teacher support. When he said that he was unable to attend a formal meeting due to his disabilities, such a meeting was dispensed with and the termination of his employment was simply actioned.

He had been offered two alternative positions within the school, but was entitled to reject them, not least because of the reduction in pay such a move would involve. His internal appeal, which was never going to succeed, involved no consideration of his disabilities and was merely an attempt to give the impression that a correct procedure was being followed.