We regularly bring you details of employment tribunal decisions so that, as an employer, you may benefit from such knowledge and avoid pitfalls that have hit other employers.
Additionally, we highlight examples of allegations and claims that have failed, again to present you with potential courses of action to take or avoid.
We have highlighted an example this month that might actually take your breath away…..how could this possibly come to tribunal you might say?
IT specialist Ian Clifford, who receives over £54,000 a year, claimed he was the victim of disability discrimination because his salary hasn’t been increased in the 15 years he has been off work.
Under a lucrative IBM health plan, the IT specialist receives over £54,000 a year and is guaranteed to receive the salary until he is 65, a total package of more than £1.5 million.
But Mr Clifford argued it is “not generous enough”, claiming that his £54,028 salary will “wither” over time due to inflation.
However, an employment tribunal dismissed his claims, with a judge telling him he has been given a “very substantial benefit” and “favourable treatment”.
The tribunal in Reading, Berkshire, heard Mr Clifford – who studied at King’s College London – started working for Lotus Development in 2000 before it was acquired by IBM.
He went on sick leave in September 2008 and remained off work until 2013, when he had raised a grievance.
Under the grievance, Mr Clifford complained that he hadn’t received a pay rise and also complained about holiday pay for the five-year period.
In April 2013, when Mr Clifford was in his mid-30s, a “compromise agreement” was reached and his complaints were settled by putting him on the company’s disability plan.
Under the plan, a person who is unable to work is not dismissed, but remains an employee and has “no obligation to work”, it was heard.
An employee on the plan has a “right”, until recovery, retirement, or death if earlier, to be paid 75 per cent of agreed earnings.
In Mr Clifford’s case, his agreed salary was £72,037 – meaning from 2013 he would be paid £54,028 per year after 25 per cent was deducted.
The plan was fixed in place for more than 30 years until he reached the retirement age of 65.
He was also paid £8,685 to settle his holiday pay complaints in 2013 and agreed never to raise a further grievance about the same issues.
Employment Judge Paul Housego dismissing his case said: “Active employees may get pay rises, but inactive employees do not, is a difference, but is not, in my judgement, a detriment caused by something arising from disability.”
The Graham Agency, keeping you informed.