July 9th, 2012
Case Review: Grimsby amputee wins £38k for disability discrimination against employer
A crane operator from Grimsby who had part of his leg removed has been awarded £38,000 in compensation after his employers made it difficult for him to return to work.
Mammoet UK Ltd, a transport and lifting company, was ordered to pay an award under disability discrimination legislation after an employment tribunal heard that the firm had neglected to make simple adjustments which would have allowed the crane operator to return to work.
The employee was descrived as having “considerable loyalty to his employer” and “an impressive work ethic”.
He began his employment in 2007, but in 2008 had to undergo surgery to remove part of his left leg, and was subsequently fitted with a prosthetic limb.
After rehabilitation he was keen to return to work. He asked his employers to make some adjustments to the access ladder of his crane in order that he could rejoin the firm. They chose not to make these adjustments, refused to allow him to return, and subsequently dismissed him in June 2011.
The employment tribunal found that the company had unlawfully discriminated against the employee on the grounds of his disability, both after the delay in dealing with the matter and then firing him.
The panel said: “It follows as night follows day that the dismissal must be an unfair one.”
The tribunal went further, and expressed “surprise” that an international employer such as Mammoet had neglected to pay accrued holiday pay upon the termination of his employment. They were ordered to pay further compensation in respect of this oversight.
In its’ report, the tribunal said: “Many people with that level of disability view their working life as having come to an end but not so the claimant. He was keen, anxious and willing to get back to work. He is an extremely impressive person in relation to the depth of work ethic that he has and the remarkable lengths that he has undertaken to try to secure alternative employment.”