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Our Employment Team brings you some Case Updates

29 Jan 2019

Permanent health insurance: in this case, the employment appeal tribunal held that an employer had breached an implied contractual term when it dismissed an employee whom was entitled to long-term disability benefit.  The whole purpose of the permanent health insurance scheme would be defeated if an employer could end entitlement under the scheme by dismissing employees when they became unfit for work. However, the employer may have the right to terminate depending on the wording of the contract and of relevance here was that the termination clause did not expressly provide for ill-health dismissals.  There was just a general right to terminate on notice.  Employers must ensure that they take advice prior to dismissing an employee who is entitled to long-term disability benefit/PHI.

Dismissing bus driver for failing a drug test was unfair: in this case the bus driver tested positive for cocaine. The driver submitted his own testing which showed a negative result but the employer would not consider it and the dismissal was therefore held to be unfair on the basis that the employer had not carefully considered any evidence submitted by the employee. Of particular relevance was that there was reference in the employer’s drug and alcohol policy to employees being able to challenge a positive result.   It was held that a reasonable employer should have at the very least re-tested an employee.  

Sarah Furness

Is a ‘tendency to steal’ protected by disability discrimination legislation if other conditions cause the tendency?: in this case an employee claimed that he had post-traumatic distress disorder, associated amnesia and memory loss, which on occasion caused him to suffer forgetfulness including forgetting to pay for items when leaving a shop. ‘Tendency to steal’ is not a condition protected by disability discrimination. When he was dismissed for committing criminal conduct outside the work place, his disability discrimination claim failed as the reason for his dismissal was the ‘tendency to steal’ – even though the tendency was caused by conditions which could be considered a disability.

For more information on any of the above, or how we can help you or your business, please contact Sarah Furness, or call 0191 232 8345.