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Employer failed to make reasonable adjustments for disabled worker

October 23rd 2023

The Employment Tribunal has ruled that an employer discriminated against a disabled worker by failing to make reasonable adjustments for him.

Jennifer Cafferky Solicitor in our employment team, reports on this recent case.

The case involved Mr R Poniatowski who worked as a quality control technologist for Wealmoor Limited between 2017 and 2020.

In May 2019, he was signed off because of back pain and depression.  He was absent for nine months. He provided regular sick notes, but the company did not contact him until October.

This led to a series of welfare meetings, but Poniatowski claimed they were short and not very helpful because Wealmoor showed a “lack of interest” in his health and wellbeing.

The meetings continued and Wealmoor asked him to get his doctor to provide a medical report on his work capabilities.

The report said: “Lifting, bending, standing for long periods and working in the cold are all likely to increase his back pain.”

Poniatowski was eventually dismissed in February 2020.

The Employment Tribunal ruled that the dismissal was unfair because it relied on the GP’s report and failed to make reasonable adjustments for Poniatowski’s condition.

Employment Judge Childe said: “We find that no reasonable employer would have dismissed the claimant in circumstances where they had failed to properly determine whether the claimant was well enough to return to work or to determine the true medical position of the claimant. No reasonable employer would have acted unlawfully, by failing to make reasonable adjustments, by adjusting the claimant’s role to enable him to return to work, prior to dismissal.”

Judge Childe added that Wealmoor was required to make “reasonable adjustments for the claimant and indeed for other staff with disabilities”.

Compensation will be decided at a separate hearing.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law please contact Jennifer on 01228 516666 or click here to send her an email.

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