Employment tribunals make big payouts due to disability discrimination

A number of cases have recently found employers guilty of ‘discrimination arising from disability’

What is disability discrimination?

According to Section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 – it is unlawful for an employer to treat one of their employees in a disparaging way because of something happening as a consequence of their disability, when the employer knows, or should be expected to know about the disability of that employee.

The employer may be able to successfully defend a claim, as long as they can justify the unfavourable treatment, on the grounds that it is a suitable way of gaining a legitimate aim.

Employers have been found guilty of ‘discrimination arising from disability’, under the Equality Act 2010, in a number of recent disability discrimination cases.

According to the Liverpool Echo, an NHS worker was sacked from her position after her secret double life as a porn star was made public. The NHS were ordered to pay compensation to the admin worker.

Three of the most recent cases resulted in large tribunal awards due to discrimination arising from disability.

In the first case, Nally V Freshfield Care Ltd, the employment tribunal awarded a total of £8,514 – £6,760 for injury to feelings and £1,754 for loss of salary. After being dismissed following behaviour which arose from disability, the employment tribunal found that he was discriminated against by his former employer when they dismissed him because of his erratic behaviour, which stemmed from his disability.

The second case, Pnaiser v NHS England and another, compensation was awarded by the employment tribunal, after an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), which found against Ms Pnaiser’s former and prospective employers.

The employers were made to pay £6,600 for injury to feelings, £2,000 in aggravated damages and £1,700 for loss of enhanced benefits and tribunal fees by the employment tribunal.

In case number three, Thomas v Twinmar Ltd, the employment tribunal awarded a total of £7,990 for discrimination arising from disability – £4,990 for loss of earnings and £3,000 for injury to feelings. The employer was found to have committed discrimination arising from disability by the employment tribunal, for dismissing an employee from their job after taking time off work for a couple of weeks, after suffering from a number of diabetic seizures.

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