If a disabled employee is transferred to a role which would normally attract a lower pay, is the employer still obliged to maintain the higher level of pay which the employee was paid for the job such employee is no longer able to perform? In the recent case G4S Cash Solutions (UK) Ltd v Powell the Employment Appeals Tribunal has answered in the affirmative.
In this case, the employee had been moved from an engineering role maintaining cash machines to a less skilled ‘key runner’ role. After initially having his pay protected, the employer proposed to cut the pay by around 10%. The employee refused to accept the pay cut and was dismissed. The Employment Tribunal found the dismissal to be discriminatory and unfair, and that the reasonable adjustments extended to maintaining the employee’s former pay in his new role.
At the appeal stage, the tribunal found no reason in principle why the duty to make reasonable adjustments would not extend to protecting the pay. Maintaining the pay level together with other measures is deemed to counter a disabled employee’s disadvantage. The objectives of the legislation plainly envisage an element of cost to the employer, and protection of the pay falls under this cost. The question is, however, if maintaining the level of pay is reasonable. As the proposed pay cut was 10%, the tribunals on the facts of this case took the view that this amount was reasonable for the employer to bear.