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News Update

June 2017

An ET upholds claims for victimisation and discrimination arising from disability after an employer provides and adverse reference for an ex-employee who had brought a disability discrimination claim.

Jaguar Land Rover has been ordered to pay £19,000 compensation after an employment tribunal found that an employee had suffered racial harassment and disability discrimination.

Only 1 in 4 people with a mental illness or phobia lasting for 12 months or more are in work, according to a report published by the TUC.

Citizens Advice have revealed that half of people on zero hours contracts, and two in five people on temporary contracts, wrongly believe they are not entitled to paid holidays.

Adverse reference amounted to victimisation and disability discrimination

In Mefful v Citizens Advice Merton and Lambeth Limited, Mefful (M) worked for Citizens Advice (CAM&L) for 8 years. He is disabled, suffering from severe and constant pain to his shoulder and total hearing loss to his right ear. M had two significant periods of absence during his employment, the first for 2 months due to grief and stress after his partner lost a baby and the second for 63 days due to his disability. M was made redundant. He presented a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. CAM&L conceded that the dismissal was unfair. An ET upheld M’s claims for victimisation and discrimination arising from disability. This was because of an adverse reference provided by CAM&L relating to a new job M obtained nearly three years after he had been dismissed. Upon receipt of the reference, the new employer had withdrawn the job offer.

The ET found that the employer failed to complete the section on the reference asking whether there was any reason why M should not be appointed to the post. In addition, (i) CAM&L conceded that they had significantly overstated M’s sickness absence by 64.5 days and no credible explanation could be provided; (ii) CAM&L failed to provide any favourable information about M personally or about his performance; and (iii) the person completing the reference held strong negative views about M which had been formed because of his pursuit of ET proceedings. Therefore: firstly, M had been victimised in that he had suffered a detriment because he had brought a disability claim under the Equality Act 2010; and, secondly, disability related absences formed a significant proportion of the absences relied upon to create the impression CAM&L would not reemploy M which was unfavourable treatment arising in consequence of his disability which could not be justified.

£19,000 compensation for "racial slur" and disability discrimination

Jaguar Land Rover has been ordered to pay £19,152.01 compensation after an employment tribunal found that an employee had suffered harassment and discrimination. Coventry Telegraph report that Mr Hoyte (H), who is of African-Caribbean descent was off work for almost two years before his dismissal on the grounds of capability. An ET decided that H’s dismissal was fair, as he had been off work for a long period, there was no evidence of a return and the employer was entitled to conclude that ‘enough was enough’. However, the ET upheld H’s claims of racial harassment and disability discrimination.

The ET found that “racially offensive” terms were used by management and colleagues, one of which was ‘Abo’, which was bound to be very racially offensive to a black man. H’s disabilities included irritable bowel syndrome. H needed to be able to take urgent toilet breaks, but was told he must get permission to leave his workstation. The ET found that the rule was both embarrassing and demeaning in a way that a non-disabled colleague would not be subjected to. The ET added that while H had been discriminated against, it arose from carelessness and insensitivity to his protected characteristics rather than a climate of institutionalised hostility or racism.

Only 1 in 4 people with a long-term mental illness are in work, says TUC

Only 1 in 4 (26.2%) people with a mental illness or phobia lasting for 12 months or more are in work, according to a report published by the TUC. The report, Mental health and employment, contains new analysis of official employment statistics, which finds that while 80.4% of non-disabled people are in work, people with mental illness, anxiety or depression have substantially lower employment rates. Only 26.2% of people with a mental illness lasting (or expected to last) more than a year are in work and 45.5% of people with depression or anxiety lasting more than 12 months are in work. The TUC is concerned that this suggests employers are failing to make adequate changes to enable people with mental illnesses, anxiety or depression to get a job, or stay in work.

Half of people on zero hours contracts think they’re not entitled to paid holiday

Citizens Advice have revealed that half of people on zero hours contracts, and two in five people on temporary contracts wrongly believe they are not entitled to paid holidays. The charity has gathered the information following an analysis of 10,000 ‘personal’ interactions specifically about paid holiday and 260,000 visitors to the Citizens Advice webpage on paid holiday. Citizens Advice found that while some employers are misleading employees about holiday entitlement due to bosses’ ignorance, others are deliberately flouting the law and are exploiting workers’ confusion. The charity is calling on the next government to ensure workers are aware of, and are able to take, the paid holiday that they are entitled to and want to see a £50 cap on Employment Tribunal fees, so that people who are treated unfairly by their employer aren’t priced out of justice.

Content

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.


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