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News from the Courts December 2017

News from the courts:  Employer ordered to pay employee returning after cancer treatment €25,000 on grounds of disability discrimination

The employee in question had 28 years of impeccable service with the organisation, and following her period of absence for cancer treatment, she requested flexibility on her return to work as she suffered persistent fatigue.

The employee requested flexibility and offered various options for accommodation, including working from home for a few days a week, working from the organisations local offices where she wouldn’t have as far to travel etc.

She was able to provide evidence that other employees had been accommodated with working from home while they recovered from an injury but her manager did not carry out any assessment, trial or review to support his claim that her work could not be carried out from home.

The employee provided her employer with a breakdown of her functions between those which could be carried at home and those requiring her to be in the office but her employer “totally ignored her analysis and the medical advice, too.”

A review by the WRC found that a significant proportion of her work was done on the computer and that a prima facie case of discrimination was established on the grounds of disability, and pointed out that there is a duty on an employer to make adequate enquiries so as to be in possession for all the facts regarding the needs of an employee with a disability to be considered.

It was the view of the WRC that no attempt was made to facilitate the employee and felt her manager had responsibility in that regard.

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