Withdrawal of Employment cost £17k

An NHS trust wrongly withdrew a job offer from a prospective employee with a stammer who wanted to make phone calls away from his colleagues in a private room, a tribunal has ruled.

The applicant had successfully applied to work within the Trust. However, this offer was withdrawn after he made an email request to be permitted to make phone calls privately, stating that being around people could make him nervous and exacerbate his disability.  

After he had accepted the job, he handed in his notice with his existing employer, only for his offer to be withdrawn when he requested if he could begin by making calls privately. The trust claimed that he had misled them at the interview, despite the applicant making it clear he suffered from a speech impediment. 

The tribunal heard that the recruiting manager decided to withdraw the offer “without any discussion”. Followed by an email stating he “could not be sure” the impediment would not affect job performance.

The email stated ‘’Firstly, at the interview we had conversations about your speech impediment, and you assured us it would not interfere with your ability to work. “We felt misled once we received the email.’’

The employment judge upheld the claim of disability discrimination and ruled that the trust should have accommodated him by making reasonable adjustments regarding the use of phones. The tribunal said rather than withdrawing the offer, the trust could have offered a trial period, during which it could have determined what reasonable adjustments were needed to support the employee and build his confidence around new colleagues.  The trust has been ordered to pay nearly £17,000 in disability discrimination.

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