31 March 2017 #Employment
A discriminatory disciplinary process led to an employee who worked at a Subway sandwich store being awarded £15,484 by an Employment Tribunal.
In Everitt v Regal Consultancy Ltd, Mr Everitt had autism, which his line manager was aware of. Regent supply staff to Subway stores and after Mr Everitt’s store failed a hygiene inspection, disciplinary action was taken against him and a colleague.
Mr Everitt asked for a family member to accompany him to his disciplinary hearing but this was not allowed because Subway rules only permitted accompaniment by a union representative or fellow employee. The company described his inability to explain the failed inspection as “wholly inadequate” and he was dismissed. In contrast, the colleague, who performed better during his disciplinary hearing, was only given a written warning.
The Employment Tribunal found the failure to allow a family member to attend the hearing and the subsequent dismissal amounted to disability discrimination. This was on the basis that the Claimant had been treated unfavourably as a result of his disability and the Company had failed to make reasonable adjustments.
This case, and the sizeable award, is a warning to employers of the importance of adjusting a disciplinary process to accommodate disability where it is reasonable to do so. This includes not sticking rigidly to the ACAS code on companions. For further advice please contact our employment team.