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Providing severance package if return to work not feasible was reasonable adjustment

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton
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In Hill v Lloyds Bank PLC, H is disabled, suffering from a reactive depression which she said resulted from being bullied and harassed by colleagues at work. On her return to work after a period of sick leave she sought an undertaking from Lloyds that they would not require her to work with the two colleagues concerned and, if at a later stage there was no alternative, she would be offered a severance package equivalent to that provided on redundancy.  Lloyds refused. The EAT agreed with the ET that Lloyds had failed to make reasonable adjustments. Lloyds had a “practice” of not giving firm undertakings in circumstances like these. H had been put at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with others because she suffered a level of anxiety and fear about the possibility that she would be required to work with the colleagues in the absence of an undertaking which a non-disabled person who had been bullied and harassed would not have. Giving such an undertaking would have lessened the disadvantage as it would have alleviated H’s fear and it was reasonable for Lloyds to do so.

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