Failure to provide reasonable adjustments highlighted in a recent tribunal decision

A disabled woman was discriminated against when she was unfairly dismissed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), according to a recent employment tribunal ruling.

The employee was dismissed less than two months into a 12-month programme specifically created to help the long-term unemployed find employment.
The Tribunal ruled that the DWP acted in a “perverse” manner when handling the employee’s disability and failed to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act.

The employee alerted the DWP on a health declaration that she regularly took antidepressants and migraine blockers” and that she suffered from migraines. During the first three months of her employment, the employee was absent several times due to migraine and, despite having access to occupational health, her line manager followed a route of disciplinary rather than refer her to occupational health to determine if reasonable adjustments could be made to support her on-going employment.

The judge ruled that the employee was unfairly dismissed and had “suffered unfavourable treatment” due to her disability and criticised the organisation for “slavishly” following the absence discipline procedure, rather than looking beyond the absence and trying to support the employee by making reasonable adjustments.

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