A man from West Wales who was dismissed from his job following a severe stroke has been awarded nearly £400,000 compensation for disability discrimination.
The employee, who worked as a branch manager for a well known company, had been under a lot of stress because of his work.
Before he had his stroke he been working for over 60 hours per week on average. He did not take his full holiday entitlement. His lawyer said that his employers had made it clear to him that branch managers were expected to work in excess of their contracted hours.
His doctor told him to avoid stress
After the man suffered a stroke, his doctor said that he would need to avoid stress at work. His employers decided that there was no getting away from stress in any role at the company so after they paid him five months sick pay they let him go on incapacity grounds.
Although the man’s recovery was slow and after the five months sick pay he was not ready to go back to work, he did make a complete recovery after 11 months.
The company was guilty of disability discrimination
He took the case to tribunal saying that the company was guilty of disability discrimination.
The tribunal agreed. They said that the company did not try to make reasonable adjustments to help the man back into work. This was unfair and was disability discrimination. The company was ordered to pay him £390,870.58 compensation.
His lawyer said company made wrong assumptions
The man’s lawyer said that the company had made the assumption that the man would not recover and that the stressful nature of the job was necessary in order to conduct efficient business.
He continued: “The golden rule is: never assume. It is nearly always worthwhile to take time to challenge your assumptions, to look at matters from a different perspective. Given the complications of employment law, it will often be worthwhile to invest in taking that perspective from a specialist employment lawyer. ”
In a statement the company acknowledged the unfairness of the dismissal and apologised to the man and his family and said they are focused on ensuring the mistake would not be repeated.