Tribunal finds that disabled woman was constructively dismissed

A disabled care worker was constructively dismissed and discriminated against by her employer after she sought a phased return to work, a tribunal has ruled. 

The tribunal heard that the care worker had been required to take time off work after having carpal tunnel surgery on both her wrists. Following an extended period of time off work following the surgery, the employee requested a phased return to work on the orders of her doctor, to which a senior member of the team responded: “Don’t think you can just swan in here when you feel like it and say you’re coming back to work. It doesn’t work like that, we don’t have light duties.” 

The judge found that the employee was disabled in respect of her carpal tunnel syndrome, and so her complaints of unlawful disability discrimination and a failure to make reasonable adjustments were well founded. Her employer was consequently ordered to pay her £29,218.88 which consisted of a basic award of £957.78, followed by an award for financial loss of £17,316.44. She was then awarded £10,000 in respect to injury to feelings. An interest rate of 8 per cent was then applied to the sums for a period of 431 days from the effective date of termination to the date of hearing, amounting to £944.66. 

This situation could have been avoided for the employer had they put in place temporary and reasonable adjustments to support their employee back to work. 

Contact 121 HR Solutions to discuss any absence related matters and the associated risks. Call us on 0800 9995 121.

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