Search

How can we help?

Icon

Sky Engineer Not Following Safety Procedure Was Discriminated Against

The Claimant was a Field Engineer who was suspended for breaching his employer’s Health and Safety policy by failing to take safety precautions. 

The Claimant stated that the reason for not following policy was that his mind was elsewhere due to an imminent divorce and possibility of custody issues over his daughter. During his suspension the Claimant underwent an Occupational Health review where it was confirmed that he had been experiencing symptoms of ‘reactive depression’.

The Claimant claimed he had told his manager previously about the issues in his home life but had not requested an Occupational Health referral before the incident because he wanted to “keep it to [himself]”. The Claimant had not had any previous disciplinary issues over his 11 years of service and confirmed that his mental health had not affected his work before this incident.

The Claimant was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct and the employer sought to rely on a number of factors including the following:

–       That the claimant had failed to seek support from the company;

–       He had worked safely on other site-visits that day; and

–       The Claimant’s personal circumstances had been an issue long before the incident in question.

The Tribunal disagreed with the approach taken by Sky-In-Home, instead finding that the Claimant’s depression was a disability and that his dismissal was a clear example of unfavourable treatment arising from a disability.  On the matter of whether such treatment could be objectively justified, the Tribunal accepted that protecting health and safety was a legitimate aim but concluded that “…the disadvantage suffered by the claimant in losing his job outweighed the reasonable needs of the respondent’s business”.

Jacob Montague

Senior Solicitor

View profile

+44 118 960 4613

The Claimant was subsequently dismissed for gross misconduct.

This is an interesting case for employers to take notice of.  It highlights that whilst employers may find it easy to demonstrate a legitimate aim when health and safety is concerned it must act proportionately.  Here, the link between the Claimant’s health and actions was not given proper consideration and it was particularly relevant that the Claimant had expressed his regret over the incident and took responsibility for what had happened, suggesting that he could have been reintegrated into the business with a warning.

For the full judgement click here.

About this article

Disclaimer
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

Jacob Montague

Senior Solicitor

View profile

+44 118 960 4613

About this article

Read, listen and watch our latest insights

art
  • 16 May 2024
  • Immigration

What Employers need to know about Biometric Residence Permits

Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) are biometric immigration documents that are issued to non-EEA nationals and EEA nationals, who have been granted permission to stay in the UK.

art
  • 14 May 2024

Clarkslegal’s London team moves to new Chancery Lane office

The London office of Clarkslegal has relocated to Chancery House, on Chancery Lane. The staff is enthusiastic about the relocation because Chancery Lane has a longstanding association with the legal profession in London.

art
  • 10 May 2024
  • Employment

New duty on employers to prevent sexual harassment – coming October 2024

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023 is due to come into force in October 2024.

art
  • 09 May 2024
  • Employment

Labour Party Employment Law Proposals – Promises of further consultations and a softer approach

The Prime Minister recently announced a raft of changes, to be implemented in the next parliament, aimed at reducing the number of people who are economically inactive due to illness.

art
  • 09 May 2024
  • Corporate and M&A

Navigating corporate transparency: ECCTA reforms series – part 1

The Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Act 2023 (ECCTA) received Royal Assent in October 2023 and marked a pivotal moment in corporate governance and transparency.

art
  • 07 May 2024
  • Employment

Changes to TUPE rules from 1 July 2024

The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (‘TUPE’) aim to safeguard employees’ rights on the transfer of a business or on the change of a service.