Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Watts v Long Eaton Plant Hire Ltd: 2600235/2017 the Employment Tribunal held that Mr Watts’ previous employer had discriminated against him by failing to make reasonable adjustments for his disability.

The facts in Watts v Long Eaton Plant Hire Ltd

Mr Watts worked as a Plant Machine Driver for Long Eaton Plant Hire Limited (“LEPH”). He suffered from cognitive difficulties and was off sick for some month; on 8 July 2016 he was diagnosed with early onset dementia.

On or about 12 August 2016 Mr Watts telephoned Mr Denneny at LEPH and informed him that he had been diagnosed with early onset dementia, and something to the effect that he was resigning (although there was a dispute as to exactly what was said). There was no further communication between LEPH and Mr Watts until 31 October 2016 when a letter was sent to him confirming that his voluntary resignation had been accepted, and that his termination date would be recorded as 30 September 2016.

Mr Watts subsequently issued an Employment Tribunal claim for (ordinary) unfair dismissal and disability discrimination (in that he alleged that LEPH had failed to make reasonable adjustments for his disability).

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Watts v Long Eaton Plant Hire Ltd

The Employment Tribunal upheld Mr Watts’ claims for unfair dismissal and failure to make reasonable adjustments

Unfair dismissal

The Employment Tribunal held that Mr Watts’ effective date of termination was 1 November 2016 – there was a dispute as to what Mr Watts had intended to convey in the conversation on 12 August 2016 but the Tribunal held that he had not evinced an intention to resign immediately or had given notice of such; the Tribunal held that he was expressing an intention to resign with effect on some unspecified future date. On the facts LEPH had terminated his employment by the way of the letter dated 31 October 2016, which Mr Watts had received on 1 November 2016. His employment had therefore been terminated and the termination date was 1 November 2016.

Having held that LEPH had terminated Mr Watts’ employment the Tribunal found that his dismissal was clearly unfair: there had been no procedure undertaken prior to Mr Watts’ dismissal and the dismissal could not therefore have been within the range of reasonable responses in the circumstances.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments

The Employment Tribunal held that LEPH was aware that Mr Watts had been diagnosed with early onset dementia – this was clear from his May and July fit notes and, further, Mr Denneny had been informed of such by Mr Watts in their telephone conversation on 12 August 2016. LEPH therefore accepted that Mr Watts was at all times relevant to the claim a disabled person. The Tribunal also held that LEPH ought to have known that Mr Watts had a disability.

The Employment Tribunal also held that the PCP that applied was that of requiring or expecting Mr Watts to carry out his job driving heavy plant machinery, that this caused him substantial disadvantage as a disabled person because his condition meant that he could nor no longer should do this, that in order to avoid the substantial disadvantage LEPH should have offered Mr Watts alternative work and, finally, should it have done so then Mr Watts would not have dismissed. The Tribunal therefore held that LEPH had failed in its duty to consider or make reasonable adjustments for Mr Watts.

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

Remedy

The Employment Tribunal awarded Mr Watts loss of earnings (although the exact sum was not calculated) and a sum of £5,000 in respect of injury to feelings.

Our solicitors’ view on Watts v Long Eaton Plant Hire Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “If employers know that an employee has a disability (or they ought reasonably be aware of such) then they should take prompt and effective steps to discover the extent of that disability, its prognosis, and any adjustments that they can make in the workplace to compensate for the disability.”

The judgment of the Employment Tribunal can be found here.

About

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. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Testimonials

    4.80 Average

    320 Reviews

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 3 days ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 6 days ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 months ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 2 months ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    William A

    Second time I have had to use Redmans. They did not disappoint. They are fast , efficient and friendly. I have already recommended them to friends and colleagues. I hope I dont have to use them again but if I have to , they are the solicitors for me.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Fleeta C

    Great service with tantastic communications. The solicitor responsible is extremely knowledgeable and was responsible for bringing a timely and desired solution.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Veronica M

    Extremely helpful, starting from a request for advice at very short notice, to dedicating time for me to understand and review all documents thoroughly.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sophie R

    Very efficient and professional service. Chris was very empathetic, knowledgeable and personable. Highly recommended.

    Posted 2 months ago