Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In the case of Carrabyne v Department for Work and Pensions ET/2401990/2016 the Employment Tribunal held that Mrs Carrabyne had been discriminated against by the Department for Work and Pensions (“DWP”) when she was dismissed for an absence unrelated to her disabilities, awarding her over £110,000 in compensation.

The facts in Carrabyne v Department for Work and Pensions

Mrs Carrabyne, who has a hip problem and suffers from depression, commenced employment with the DWP in July 2012. She worked in a team of 15 people at the Belle Valley Department of the DWP, and her line manager was Mr Woodward.

During Mrs Carrabyne’s employment the DWP made a number of adjustments to the workplace to compensate for Mrs Carrabyne’s disabilities, including the use of specialist workstation equipment, a specialist chair, and increased consideration points in relation to the department’s trigger points (Mrs Carrabyne had six days’ additional to the standard eight days’s allowed absence in a rolling 12 month period, equating to an allowed total of 14 days’ absence in any 12 month rolling period).

Mrs Carrabyne had the following periods of absence from work:

  • 2 April 2014 to 24 June 2014: absence due to a hip operation
  • 29 January 2015: one days’ absence due to her hip
  • 30 January 2015: absence due to a steroid injection (which did not count towards her period of absences)
  • 7 April 2015 to 13 July 2015: absence due to her depression
  • 4 January 2016 to 8 January 2016: gastric flu

Ms Carradyne was given a first written warning on 12  January 2015 with a review period that ended on 9 August 2015. Ms Carradyne appealed this but the appeal was not upheld.

An Occupation Health report was produced on 25 January 2016. This confirmed that Mrs Carrabyne had a longstanding history of depression which was well-maintained with medication, and that she had daily hip pain which limited her mobility.

Mrs Carraydne was then given a final written warning on 28 July 2015 with a review period which ended on 27 January 2016.

After Mrs Carradyne’s absence in January 2016 Mr Woodward referred Mrs Carradyne’s matter to Mrs Bennett for a decision, saying that her absence record was unsustainable and that there was no evidence of sustained improvement in her overall absence, particularly given that she was on her final written warning review period.  Although Mrs Bennett deemed Mrs Carrabyne’s absence to be genuine she decided that Mrs Carrabyne should be dismissed, as her opinion was that Mrs Carrabyne had not shown an improvement in her attendance in the last review period and she was not convinced that a sustained improvement could be achieved in the future. Mrs Carrabyne appealed the decision but her appeal was rejected.

Mrs Carradyne brought claims in the Employment Tribunal for discrimination arising from disability, a failure to make reasonable adjustments, and unfair dismissal.


The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Carrabyne v Department for Work and Pensions

The Employment Tribunal upheld Mrs Carrabyne’s claims for  discrimination arising from disability (section 15 Equality Act 2010), failure to make reasonable adjustments (section 20 Equality Act 2010), and unfair dismissal.

Discrimination arising from disability

The DWP accepted that it’s dismissal of Mrs Carrabyne was unfavourable treatment because of something arising in consequence of her disability. The Tribunal held that her dismissal was not a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim and that her dismissal was therefore discriminatory: the Tribunal’s decision on this point was influenced by the fact that the DWP had failed to put forward any evidence that Mrs Carrabyne’s absence had a significant impact on her department.

An analysis of the law relating to discrimination arising from disability can be found here.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments

The Employment Tribunal held that the DWP had failed to make reasonable adjustments in relation to Mrs Carradyne’s dismissal by: 1) discounting the disability-related absences in relation to the DWP’s absence policy; or 2) extending the DWP’s absence policy trigger points. The Tribunal held that these adjustments would have been reasonable and that the cost to discount Mrs Carrabyne’s absences would have been nil.

An analysis of the law relating to failure to make reasonable adjustments can be found here.

Unfair dismissal

The Employment Tribunal held that the DWP was a large organisation with access to large resources. The Tribunal found that the reason for the dismissal was a potentially fair reason (capability) but that it did not act reasonably in treating the circumstances as as sufficient reason for dismissal.

An analysis of the law relating to unfair dismissal can be found here.


The Employment Tribunal made the followings to Mrs Carrabyne:

  1. Basic Award: £1,107.69
  2. Loss of statutory rights: £738.46
  3. Past loss of earnings: £22,548.41 (with interest of 8% to be added)
  4. Future loss of earnings: £35,611.56
  5. Injury to feelings: £18,700 (with interest of 8% to be added)

The Tribunal also ordered that the DWP pay a sum of £17,814 in respect of the cost of Mr Carrabyne obtaining a degree from the Open University and that 36 months’ employers’ pension contributions be paid to her (together with interest on such).

The total award made to Mrs Carrabyne by the Employment Tribunal amounted to £110,165.


Our solicitors’ view on Carrabyne v Department for Work and Pensions

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “If employers are aware (or reasonably should be aware) that an employee is disabled then they should take care to ensure whether any adjustments can be made in the workplace (whether relating to absences or otherwise); a failure to do so may result in the employer discriminating against the employee.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal on liability can be found here and the judgment on remedy can be found here.


Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk.

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk


4.64 Average

28 Reviews


Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 5 hours ago

Virginia K

Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 6 hours ago


Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 1 day ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 3 days ago


I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 3 weeks ago


Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 3 weeks ago

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 4 months ago


Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 4 months ago


Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 4 months ago


At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 4 months ago


Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 5 months ago


Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 5 months ago


Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 5 months ago


Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 5 months ago


Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 5 months ago


Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 5 months ago


Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 5 months ago


Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 5 months ago


Resolved my issues

Posted 5 months ago


Quick fast professional service.

Posted 5 months ago


"Prompt, efficient and practical advice that resulted in me getting some additional money tax free."

Posted 5 months ago