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Fri May 27 2022

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Council building inspector wins unfair dismissal case

17 Nov 21 An employment tribunal has ruled that the London Borough of Islington unfairly dismissed a disabled clerk of works in the building’s section of the council’s housing department.

Thomas Walsh wanted flexible working patterns when his Crohn’s disease symptoms deteriorated. His bosses felt unable to accommodate is request.

He asked to work on a job share basis. He was told: “Inspecting building work is not a job that lends itself easily to 2 people visiting the same site / contract and I can foresee numerous issues arising. I have concluded therefore that this is not something that I can accommodate."

He made several such requests, interspersed with periods of sick leave in 2018 and 2019. His absence led his lime managers to trigger the absence management process, eventually leading to his dismissal in February 2020.

The employment tribunal has now ruled that the employer failed to adjust his work pattern to take account of his disability and that his treatment and dismissal were unfair.

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Mr Walsh was assisted in his representations by his union, GMB.

GMB London regional officer Mick Lancaster said: " If managers at Islington Council made reasonable adjustments and explored our members request and advise from their own occupational health to work part time hours this would have given our member a realistic opportunity to improve their attendance and this unfair dismissal could have been avoided.

GMB London will be seeking a substantial figure in January to compensate the member for financial losses and for unfair treatment and unfair dismissal. In addition any remedy should serve as a clear warning to other employers that failure to make reasonable adjustments to take account of disability is unlawful. GMB will not allow employers to ignore or bypass the legal and contractual rights of our members in their jobs."

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MPU

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