Disability discrimination: employee awarded £11,000 for undue delay in reducing hours

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A tribunal has awarded a woman £11,000 after her employer took too long to process her request for reduced working hours on account of her mental ill-health. The tribunal found the employer, a multi-site car dealership, had discriminated against her when it took 14 months to deal with her request.

The woman had worked an average of 47.8 hours per week, and had been absent from work due to bouts of depression and panic attacks. She sought to reduce her working hours to 40 per week and referred specifically to her disability and its impact on her and her colleagues in her application.

The tribunal found her application was incorrectly dealt with as an application for flexible working. It held that if the employer had followed its legal duty to make reasonable adjustments on account of her disability and ‘taken a proactive approach’, the claimant would have benefited sooner from the reduced hours. The tribunal found that the employer had neither victimised nor harassed the claimant.

In a statement, the employer accepted the tribunal’s ruling and acknowledged that it had taken too long to implement the reduction in working hours.

Disability discrimination advice for employers in East Sussex

Under discrimination law, employers have a duty to  make  reasonable adjustments to premises or working practices where a disabled employee or  job  applicant  is  placed  at  a  substantial  disadvantage. Failing  to  comply  with  this  duty  is  a  form  of  disability  discrimination. There is no limit to the amount of compensation that can be awarded for a successful disability discrimination claim.

For general guidance please read our Disability Discrimination – Reasonable Adjustments Briefing Note. For expert legal advice tailored to your business please email Paul Maynard (Employment Law Services Partner) or call him on 01323 435900. To learn about Paul’s skills and experience please view his website profile.

Find out more about the services offered by our employment solicitors.

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