A round up of the latest HR and Employment Law updates and related stories.
CAN YOU WITHDRAW A JOB OFFER?
The case of Corry v Merseyrail Electric 2002 Ltd ET/2400795/2015 has demonstrated that there may be occasions when it is possible to withdraw a job offer even after it has been formally made.
In this case the employer, Merseyrail Electric 2002 Ltd, had made an offer of employment in a railway station which was conditional on the applicant, Mr Corry, meeting and satisfying certain health and safety issues by undergoing and passing a medical examination. Unfortunately, Mr Corry suffered from epilepsy, a fact he had already disclosed in his CV.
The medical examination found that whilst Mr Corry was certainly fit to work, he should not be allowed to:
- Work trackside and/or
- Not work alone
This is because his condition led to some serious health and safety concerns.
The employer did consider what reasonable adjustments could be made but because 90% of the work for that job role meant working alone and trackside, cost and practical difficulties prohibited these and so the job offer was withdrawn.
Mr Corry applied to the Employment Tribunal on the basis that the employer had discriminated on the basis of disability. However, the Tribunal found that the employer:
- Had not discriminated on the basis of disability and
- Had not failed to meet their duty to make reasonable adjustments
This is because these would be either “prohibitively expensive” or wouldn’t necessarily reduce the health and safety risks.
This case makes it very clear that if an employer expects the applicant to meet certain conditions then any job offer must:
- Be very clear about this fact (i.e. that the job is clearly conditional) and
- Outline the exact nature of the conditions.
If the job offer had not been conditional then it is unlikely that the Tribunal would have agreed with the employer.
The Disability Confident scheme examines the reality of employment for people with a disability and seeks to provide employers with information to raise confidence – for more information see our previous blog:
SHOULD EMPLOYERS HAVE A PROCESS FOR PROPERLY INVESTIGATING DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS?
The case of Cordant Security Ltd v Singh & Anor UKEAT/0144/15/LA involved employee, Mr Singh’s, claim of race discrimination against his supervisor. Although it was subsequently found that the allegation was false, the employers unfortunately did not investigate the claim and Mr Singh made a claim to the Employment Tribunal.
The initial Tribunal found that the employer had discriminated against Mr Singh, the employee, because they had failed to investigate the allegation of discrimination. However, as he had not actually suffered any injury of feelings, no compensation was awarded to him.
The employer then appealed and the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that section 39(2)(d) of the Equality Act 2010 meant that a successful discrimination claim relies on there being both:
(i) Discrimination – i.e. less favourable treatment on grounds of a protected characteristic such as race, AND
(ii) Detriment to the employee.
Since Mr Singh had not suffered any detriment the employer could not have discriminated against him.
However, the employers were only successful because the allegation was false and so there could never be any detriment. If the employee had suffered detriment, then the employer would certainly have been at fault.
The case draws our attention to the fact that ALL allegations of discrimination must be properly investigated and clear records recording the steps taken must be retained.