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Disability HR costs firm almost £400K

BY Gerry O'Hare
Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

A man dismissed from his job following a stroke has been awarded nearly £400,000 in compensation for disability HR.

Mr X, a branch manager in Wales for Jewson, was dismissed on the grounds of incapacity five months after suffering a stroke. 

After the stroke, Mr X’s doctor told him to avoid stress at work but importantly did not say that he would never make a full recovery from his stroke. In spite of this, Jewson took the view that no role within the company would be without stress and so decided to dismiss him.

Mr X’s claim forced Jewson to disclose statistics about their sickness absence rates. Interestingly, over a two year period prior to Mr X’s dismissal, 204 other employees had been allowed more than six months' absence, and 64 employees more than 12 months' absence. As it turned out, Mr X made a full recovery within 11 months of his stroke. It was against this background that the Tribunal found that the dismissal amounted to disability HR as Jewson had failed to make reasonable adjustments. 

The £390,870.58 payout is Wales' highest ever HR award. However, there have been larger payouts for disability HR cases in the UK, including a £792,000 award given to a disabled football journalist for unfair dismissal and unlawful harassment.


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