DDA: Wales` highest ever discrimination award
18 July 2011
A man awarded nearly £400,000 in compensation for disability discrimination is the highest award that has ever been given in Wales.
Jonathon Jones was awarded £390,870.58 after successfully suing his employer for disability discrimination. Jones was a branch manager in Wales for builder`s merchant Jewson and was dismissed on the grounds of incapacity five months after he suffered a stroke.
After Jones` stroke he was instructed by his doctor that in order to return to employment he must avoid stress at work, but Jewson felt that there was no role in the company that was void of stress and therefore dismissed him. The tribunal found that this dismissal amounted to disability discrimination as the employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments.
Jones` solicitor, Stephen Jackson, stated that the doctor`s report did not say that Jones would ‘never` make a full recovery from his stroke. He also commented on Jewson`s statistics on sickness absence rates and found that 204 other employees had been allowed more than 6 months absence and 64 employees had been allowed more than 12 months absence. Given that Mr Jones made a full recovery within 11 months it was ‘common sense` that he should have been given the time to recover. Jewson, however, argued at the tribunal that there was a difference between the 204 other employees and Jones, in that Jones was unable to return to his existing role whereas the other employees had a favourable prospect of returning to work.
There have been larger payouts for disability discrimination cases in the UK, including an award of £792,000 given to a disabled football journalist for unfair dismissal and unlawful harassment.
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