Heart attack victim wins £100,000 in employment tribunal

Whilst an employee was recovering from a heart attack, her employer wrote to her to advise that she was at risk of redundancy. The letter proposed that she should choose an alternative role with a lower salary, which required her to undertake manual handling – something that was medically inadvisable due to the employee’s heart condition.

The employment tribunal ruled that the employer failed to take her illness seriously, by adding to her workload and failing to arrange an occupational health referral.

The employee alerted her manager to the fact that she had been medically advised not to drive for more than four hours a day but on her return to work she was assigned jobs which would require up to eight hours of driving a day!

The award of £100,000 in this case demonstrates the importance of employers taking time to obtain up to date medical evidence in order to understand an employee’s health condition – particularly when it is a chronic or serious condition. It is important to consider the impact of the decision and any potential adjustments which might be viable to assist the employee in continuing to work.

Long term absence and reasonable adjustments can create difficulties for employers. Contact us on 0800 9995 121 if you feel you need support in this area. 

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