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Disabled Scottish government employee wins direct discrimination claim following lack of adjustments

A Scottish government employee with disabilities won a direct discrimination case after lacking necessary work equipment. The tribunal found the government failed to provide reasonable adjustments, affecting his performance and leading to his dismissal. The judge ruled in his favor, highlighting the discrimination and the organisation’s failure to accommodate his needs.
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In the case of Mr JB v Scottish Ministers a Scottish government employee with disabilities, who lacked necessary work equipment, has succeeded in a direct discrimination case at an employment tribunal.

During his tenure as a team leader in the social care division of the Scottish government from November 2020 to October 2022, Mr. JB required specific aids and accommodations due to his health conditions. These included spondylitis, spinal arthritis from a previous accident, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility, fibromyalgia, and dyslexia, necessitating the use of a wheelchair.

Although his previous employer provided various aids, such as an ergonomic chair, keyboard, mouse, large monitor, and a height-adjustable desk, the transition to the Scottish government lacked the necessary support. Initially, arrangements were made for him to work from home, but the provided equipment was inadequate and incompatible with his needs.

Despite expressing his concerns and needs, including during a probation meeting triggered by sickness absence, the necessary adjustments were not made. Even when he attempted to work from the office, accessibility issues persisted, with promised accommodations not in place.

Mr. JB’s performance was negatively affected by the lack of support and adjustments, leading to extended probation and eventual dismissal. An occupational health report attributed his absences directly to the organisation’s failure to provide adequate support, exacerbating his health conditions and mental wellbeing.

The tribunal ruled in Mr. JB’s favour, finding that the Scottish government had discriminated against him and failed in its duty to provide reasonable adjustments. The judge emphasized that Mr. JB’s dismissal resulted from the organisation’s failure to implement necessary accommodations, constituting direct discrimination.

Further proceedings will determine compensation owed to Mr. JB for the discrimination he endured.

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