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Chelsea Brooke-Ward

Chelsea Brooke-Ward successfully represents claimant in disability discrimination claim.

Mr N Hussain v Capita Retail Financial Services Ltd

The claim concerned an employee who had been working at the international business processing outsourcing and professional services company just less than a year. The claimant had suffered a significant injury prior to being employed which resulted in loss of use in his left arm. During his induction he made his employer aware of the significance of his injuries and immediately requested reasonable adjustments. Despite requesting adjustments over a six month period, the respondent wholly failed to implement the adjustments relying on the fact that the claimant had not supplied any evidence to substantiate his disability. The evidence borne out at trial clearly indicated that the respondent was not only aware of the claimant’s disability but also of his need for reasonable adjustments, but it simply failed in their obligation.

In a unanimous decision the Tribunal stated:

“Furthermore, more the respondents had knowledge of his disability. The claimant declared his disability on the commencement of his employment and shortly after by resubmitting his medical declaration form where he classified himself as a disabled person. He referred to the need for reasonable adjustments. The claimant also in his DSE form referred to a need for an adjustable chair and he discussed this with the Respondent. He told the respondent he had trouble with his shoulder and had been granted adjustments previously in earlier employment as a result of

occupational health assessments. The respondent knew that the claimant took medication for his shoulder and certainly the respondent was on notice to the claimant’s disability impairment and took no practical steps to understand it, in particular through an OH referral. The claimant then brings a series of reasonable adjustment complaints the first is a reasonable adjustment for the provision of an auxiliary aid by way of a specialised adjustable chair. We find that the claimant was put at a substantial disadvantage as he could not sit in comfort at work in an ordinary chair and without the risk of pain. Clearly the respondent was aware that the claimant felt uncomfortable and not having a chair with adjustable armrests and given its knowledge of the claimant taking medication and about his discomfort which might result in pain. The claimant had made an explicit reference to the need for a chair in his DSE form and on subsequent discussions with the Respondent, there was talk which revolved around this potential adaptation.

We therefore find that the duty to make reasonable adjustments arose and the tribunal finds that the respondent did not comply with this duty. There is no suggestion that an adjustable chair could not be sourced and would not have been sourced had appropriate efforts being made, indeed appropriate efforts were not made by the respondent to progress this adoption. The medical declarations were not acted upon, the DSE assessment was discussed but then it was left to the claimant to provide evidence of his impairment. When the claimant did provide evidence, he was told that something more was required. At no stage was any contact made with work right. Despite the evidence which was before the respondent there was no attempt to arrange for the claimant for his workstation to be assessed, there was no referral to occupational health. No further thought was given to the issue by the respondent. We find the evidence of effective in action for a period of six months from the commencement of the claimant’s employment to the termination of that employment. It is clear that nothing was happening in the background which would have ensured those steps, with no serious attempt to discuss the matter with the claimant and get to the bottom of his issues and how they might alleviate the claimant’s complaint, in this regard the claim succeeds.

The Clamant was awarded £5,753.85 for a one-off act which continued for six months inclusive of interest.

Chelsea Brooke-Ward has a busy employment practice and is regularly instructed on behalf of both Claimants and Respondents. She has become a main source of referral to advise on the merits of successful claims, on behalf of insurance companies.

If you would like to book Chelsea please contact one of her civil clerks:

Senior Civil Clerk – Francine Kirk on 0113 202 8605

Business Development Clerk – Andy Reeves on 0113 213 5252

Talia Webster on 0113 202 8609

Daniel Highfield on 0113 213 5207

Joshua Duree on 0113 213 5246