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Dismissal of disabled employee not discrimination

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that the dismissal of a disabled employee on long term sick leave was not discrimination as a result of a disability.

The Claimant worked for HMRC and suffered from anxiety and depression. He was off work for long periods of time and in the last couple of years of his employment had been off sick for 245 days on 23 different occasions.

Prior to dismissing him, HMRC concluded that his absence impacted on productivity and staff morale and that all reasonable adjustments had been exhausted. At the time of his dismissal, for reasons of capability, he had been absent for seven months and was unfit to return in any capacity.

Although the tribunal found that the Claimant had been dismissed due to something (that is, his absence from work) arising in consequence of his disability, HMRC could objectively justify the unfavourable treatment as a proportionate means of achieving its aim of ensuring that staff were capable of demonstrating satisfactory attendance and a good standard of attendance, which also comprised the aims of the maintenance of a fair, effective and transparent sickness management regime, and the efficient use of resources.



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