After a hearing that concluded in January this year, Leeds Employment Tribunal has now ruled that learning disability charity United Response unfairly dismissed a former care worker. This case was brought to the Tribunal after a complicated few years for the claimant and things finally worked out in his favour.
Dave Gregson started working with the charity back in 2011 and was mainly based at the charity’s premises in Highgate Park in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. However, in 2016, concerns were raised about Gregson’s performance, specifically about his wellbeing and the risk of accidental harm to beneficiaries. This then lead to the reduction of Gregson’s responsibilities.
After an altercation with a support worker in 2017, Gregson was moved to another site run by the charity nearby. After a disciplinary hearing about the altercation, Gregson’s move to the new site was made permanent and he was also given a first written warning but, David Gregson appealed this and the relocation was eventually reversed.
Upon his return to work in Harrogate, an occupational health evaluation found Gregson fit to return to work but without working sleep-in shifts. So, the charity kept his working hours to 9am to 5pm and previous reductions of responsibilities from the previous year were kept in place. However, this caused a number of disputes and Gregson was suspended.
In 2018, Gregson was then diagnosed as autistic and he was put on leave whilst the charity deliberated if he should return to work. A review suggested that the support Dave Gregson would require if he was to return was too onerous and there were no suitable alternative roles.
Another occupational health report then found some improvements in Gregson’s ability to cope and he was now viewed as fit to return to work. However, with a perceived lack of suitable roles, the charity decided to dismiss Dave Gregson on the grounds of capability.
When reviewing this the Employment Tribunal ruled that the charity failed to make adjustments to take into account his recent autism diagnosis and did not properly take measures that could help Gregson return to work. However, additional claims of victimisation and direct disability discrimination were dismissed by the tribunal.
Understanding unfair dismissal
Of course, as an employer, you are allowed to dismiss your employees but, you must always ensure that it is ‘fair’. It is also important to remember that, even if you think you’ve dismissed someone fairly, they can still claim unfair dismissal against you. Any employee that feels as though they have not been dismissed properly has the right to claim compensation on grounds of unfair or discriminatory dismissal.
Fairness is one of the main components in an employee being properly dismissed and all employers should not only ensure that the proper dismissal procedures were followed but, that they also have a fair reason for the dismissal in the first place. It isn’t uncommon for companies to play everything by the book, use the correct dismissal procedure following the advice set out in the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) code of practice and still get taken to an Employment Tribunal because of their reasons for the dismissal.
How Nationwide Employment Lawyers can help
It goes without saying that dismissing an employee can be a complex procedure and in order to protect your company from any potential claims, it may be best to seek advice from an employment law specialist in difficult situations, like the case above. There is no harm in reaching out to professionals in this regard and similarly, if you find that you’re being accused of unfair dismissal by an ex-employee then it is important to contact the correct people to help.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you require assistance from employment law specialists, please don’t hesitate to contact Nationwide Employment Lawyers. We can provide you with the professional support that you require and you can trust that when you turn to our team, you will receive a seamless, cost-effective service. We have a superb record in representing our clients and will do all we can to make sure that you have peace of mind from start to finish.