Amidst on-going financial uncertainty, disabilities and illnesses might seem, on the surface, to offer ‘get out of jail for free cards’ to struggling business owners. Whilst long standing employment law clarifies legal codes of conduct to human resources representatives in such matters, the Equality Act of 2010 has left some businesses lacking. Whether their courses of action intentionally or unintentionally contravened the Act, many have found themselves facing adverse employment tribunal cases due to disregard of workplace disability laws.
One such case in point recently befell an employer as well known and reputed as the AA. A team member, who had previously ranked amongst the top 100 staff in the company, was advised by his Doctor to adopt a common sense approach to his workload after diabetes was diagnosed. Resultantly, his performance level slipped from excellent to average, but did not diminish to the realms of poor, where approximately 1000 other staff languished. As such, his average status failed to warrant a performance review, which would have been far more applicable in the cases of some of his underperforming colleagues.
However, he duly spent a fortnight accompanied on his daily duties by a training support team. This came across as a little excessive at the employment tribunal, given that poor performers were generally shadowed in such a way for just a couple of days. He was ultimately asked to either face an under performance assessment, or to leave the business with three months’ pay. Unsurprisingly, the upshot of the employment tribunal was that the AA had failed to make befitting adjustments to his role in light of his recent disability. They consequently lost the case.
We, at NorthgateArinso Employer Services, understand that the Equality Act is a lot for many businesses to take in. Not only is it a lot to take in; it is also a lot to implement in real terms. We offer comprehensive human resources services to businesses of all sizes. We help them to establish best practices to keep them on the right side of employment law, plus expertise and support if they fall on the wrong side of it.