Reasonable adjustments during recruitment

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The employee was suffering from cancer, when he was made redundant.

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In a recent tribunal decision, an NHS worker was awarded a rather large pay out of £115,000, by successfully pleading disability discrimination (Section 6 and 15 Equality Act 2010) against the NHS, for failure to comply with their Section 20 Equality Act 2010 obligations to make reasonable adjustment to him as a disabled worker.

The employee was suffering from cancer, when he was made redundant by the NHS following a restructure. The employee was invited to apply for other vacancies within the NHS, which he did. An interview was set up and the employee was given reasonable opportunity to alter the interview date to fit with his treatment schedule, and was allowed time for adjournment during the interview if it was required. However, the employee did not perform well at the interview and as such was not redeployed.

The employee made a claim against the NHS on the basis that they failed to make reasonable adjustments by making him attend a comparative interview in the first instance. Having had a good service record within the NHS previously, this should have been used to assess the employee’s ability to undertake this new role, and not their performance during interview. The interviewers were more than aware of the employees condition and treatment regime yet failed to give them the benefit of the doubt that this would obviously have an impact on their abilities at interview. The Tribunal felt that the NHS had failed to make reasonable adjustments by making the employee attend the interview, and as such were deemed to be in breach of Sections 6, 15 and 20 of the Equality Act 2010. As such the payout awarded was as follows;

•         £73,270.50 for loss of earnings;
•         £27,666 for pension loss;
•         £5,625 for injury to feelings; and
•         £8,494.92 in interest.

A costly mistake to make!

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