In Sherbourne v N Power Ltd, an ET upheld S’s claim that his employer indirectly discriminated against him on the grounds of his disability, i.e. autism, and failed to make reasonable adjustments to his working environment. S worked in an open plan setting with a busy walkway behind him, and building works going on around him, and he became overwhelmed and distracted. The flexible office environment also caused S problems meaning that he was not always at his own desk. As a result, S had a breakdown, went off sick and was diagnosed by his GP as suffering from an anxiety disorder. An ET found that discrimination had occurred because of a continuous management failure to take reasonable steps to understand S’s disability and a failure to implement two sets of adjustments, i.e. (1) four recommendations from the employer’s in-house doctor to facilitate S’s return to work, all of which the employer indicated were achievable; and, (2) dismissing S without completing a management agreed combined welfare and capability procedure, which had included attempting to find S an alternative role.
Autistic employee disadvantaged by failure to adjust open plan workplace
Article by: Makbool Javaid |