A court ruled that a disabled employability adviser who was fired after asking for a suitable work chair during lockdown was a victim of disability discrimination.
The remote court heard that Griffith’s employer, Dimension Training Solutions (DTS), which is currently in voluntary creditor liquidation, failed to make reasonable adjustments. Work while sitting in the dining chair.
The court ruled that providing the Griffiths with suitable chairs might have mitigated this disadvantage.
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The court heard that Griffith was employed by DTS as an employability advisor under a DWP contract from February 2020 until his dismissal on October 15, 2020.
The court was told that Griffith had “various ailments and disorders”, with the main problems being asthma, knee osteoarthritis, and leg pain that resulted in limited leg mobility.
The court also found that Griffith had experienced related impairments for more than 12 months, each of which had a “significant adverse effect” on his ability to perform normal daily activities and interfered with his mobility and concentration. also made it clear.
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On March 23, 2020, during the initial Covid-19 lockdown, DTS ordered all employees to work remotely.
The court heard that Griffiths had conducted a “work-from-home risk assessment” at the employer’s request. This made it clear that sitting in a dining room chair did not allow me to work comfortably while sitting at the dining room table, so a reasonable adjustment was needed.
In response, DTS advised Griffith to go to the Gloucester Center and collect a chair from his office, but he was unable to do so because he was shielded. It determined that “no further action was taken” in response to the request.
In August and September, Griffiths filed a complaint and, after seeking advice from Acas on October 14, formally requested a reasonable adjustment in writing to the group’s HR manager.
On October 15, the court received a call that Griffiths had been dismissed as DTS’ operational director.
The court determined that DTS paid Griffith one month’s wages in lieu of notice and accrued leave, but did not respond to Griffith’s request for written justification for dismissal and did not proceed with the appeal. bottom.
Griffith felt “hurt and humiliated” by his dismissal, and the court said the lawsuit by DTS “appeared to be simply because Griffith requested an adjustment to address his disability.” It also emphasized that Griffith’s primary role is to “advise people on exactly these issues.”
The court also noted that Griffith sought medical advice, was put on antidepressants, and needed counseling.
Employment Judge NJ Roper said that Griffith’s need for protection during the Covid pandemic and his need for “reasonable accommodation to work from home were all directly attributable to his disability.” is the cause of the
They argued that Griffith’s complaints and “experiences of poor treatment were a direct result of his disability,” and that his employer did not attend the hearing and would raise a “justification defense.” He added that Griffith won his argument because he didn’t.
The court dismissed Griffith as soon as DTS formally requested fair change, and thus, without providing written reasons for his dismissal, determined that three of the criteria for the alleged preferential treatment had been met. It also said DTS had been applied because it had ignored his request for written reasons for his dismissal and consideration of an appeal.
Anderson Strathern’s Employment Partner Chris McDowall said the ruling is a stark reminder to employers that even if an employee has not been employed for a specified period of time, they are not required to file a discrimination claim under the Equality Act. and regardless of the circumstances, employers must ensure that they comply with their legal obligations when working from home. ’” He added: Due to the complainant’s disability, the employer had additional legal obligations under the Equality Act that it failed to comply with. Telecommuters with disabilities may be required to provide equipment as a reasonable adjustment under law. ”
Griffith was awarded £11,062.50 for loss of income and £15,000 for emotional damage. Her total compensation (including interest) was £29,620.79.
Neither DTS nor Griffiths could be reached for comment.