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£110,165 a costly price for failing to manage absence

An employment tribunal has ordered that the Department for Work and Pensions pay a former employee £110,165 after she was found to have been unfairly dismissed and subjected to unlawful disability discrimination following her dismissal under the absence management policy.

At the time of her dismissal, the employee was already on a final written warning following significant absences of 64.5 days and 59 days, which related to her recognised disabilities of depression and hip problems. The tipping point in deciding to dismiss her was four days absence due to gastric flu, although her whole attendance record was taken into account.

Reasonable adjustments had been made to accommodate her disability and her attendance improved. The tribunal held that for an organisation of this size, with significant resources, they did not act reasonably in treating the circumstances as a reason for dismissal. It would have cost the employer nothing to extend the trigger points, and that reasonable adjustments were available and were not put in place.

A costly warning to employers to properly manage absence.

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