Just because you are not an employee, doesn’t mean you can’t pursue a claim for Disability Discrimination. I recently helped a client who was finding it almost impossible to get a new job because of his disability. Read on to see how I helped him secure a job offer, and compensation for the discrimination he suffered during the recruitment process.
My client was suffering from a long-term medical condition which rendered him disabled under section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. This section reads “This section has no associated Explanatory Notes
A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”
My client would always be disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act and would always need help managing his health. However, he had undergone treatment and took various medications that improved his standard of living and symptoms. As his physical health improved, he was keen to get back to work.
My client applied for lots of jobs in his specialist area of work and within a short period of time, he was offered a job, pending references. Both of my client’s references were glowing. Coupled with his experience, he was clearly the best candidate for the job. Unfortunately, a difficulty arose in that one of the references provided a record of my client’s sickness absence and this showed a higher than average level of absence.
Following receipt of the sickness record, my client’s job was immediately withdrawn without any discussion about why he had been off work sick, if he was likely to require further time off sick in the future, or if the employer could make any adjustments to support his employment.
My client was absolutely devastated. He had overcome such an emotional hurdle dealing with his medical condition. Against the odds he had picked himself up and tried to get back into work, only to be rejected because of his sickness record that was linked almost completely to his medical condition.
I advised my client to try and resolve the situation informally. However, because he never technically became an employee, the employer was not prepared to accept a grievance or respond to his letters. I assisted my client with ACAS Early Conciliation, but the employer denied any wrongdoing. Eventually, and with full support from my client’s legal expenses insurer, proceedings were issued in the Employment Tribunal for indirect discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments and discrimination arising from disability.
After the parties got to the point of disclosing evidence, it was clear that my client had been discriminated against because of his medical condition. The employer’s solicitor got in touch and eventually a deal was brokered that saw my client getting the job he had initially applied for, along with compensation to cover all loss of earnings and something towards his injured feelings.
If you are experiencing any problems at work, or feel you are being subjected to disability discrimination, I can help. Please telephone on 01522 440512, email at ContactUs@Lincslaw.com or visit our website for further information- www.lincslaw.co.uk
Specialist Employment Law Solicitor