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Is refusing to give a severance undertaking a failure to make reasonable adjustments?

The employee had been off on long term sick leave due to stress, which she claimed was because of bullying and harassment by two colleagues.

On her return to work, she sought an undertaking from her employer that they would ensure that she was not required to work with them. If that was not possible, and there was no other alternative available, she would be entitled to a severance package, equivalent to redundancy pay. Her employer refused to give the undertaking, so she sued for failure to make reasonable adjustments based on her disability (which was not disputed).

The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed with an employment tribunal’s decision that it would have been a reasonable adjustment for the employer to give the undertaking. The employee was placed at a substantial disadvantage in that she suffered a level of anxiety and fear about work that would not have been suffered by a non-disabled person who had been bullied and harassed, and the giving of the undertaking would have alleviated that fear.



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