Employers behaving badly
Gordon Turner, employment lawyer, Gordon Turner Employment Lawyers
Here’s my first blog aimed at recruiters based on what I see in my office and at the tribunals. I hope to share things so that you can avoid making costly mistakes.
I’ve just got back from an employment tribunal with the usual 800-page bundle and six witnesses for the employer. I was there with my lonely employee, a person with a disability and no less than twenty-five years’ service. The oddest thing of all was that not a single one of them seemed to understand a report from occupational health which read: “Is the employee fit to continue in her current role?” – “yes”.
If you have a complicated situation at work, try to keep the witnesses to a small and relevant group. Also, if you have a disabled person take extra care to consider ‘reasonable’ adjustments. In this case, if the employer genuinely could not continue to employ my client (for example due to impact on services or clients) they could have explored whether in the circumstances there were any ‘reasonable’ steps they could have taken. If not, it can be safe to dismiss once an employer has looked at alternatives such as other roles. There is ample guidance out there, but the best source is the Code of Practice on Employment 2011.
Take a look at 3.15 and the importance of avoiding stereotypical assumptions about disabled people. It’s better than a £70,000 pay out and hefty legal bill.