An Employment Tribunal in Hull has ordered international transport and heavy lifting company, Mammoet UK Ltd, to pay the compensation after hearing that it failed to make even simple adjustments that would have allowed the ‘loyal’ worker to return to his job.
The Tribunal described the worker as having an ‘impressive’ work ethic and considerable loyalty to his employer.
Bridge McFarland Solicitors, which brought the case on behalf of the worker, said the compensation was much deserved and would go some way to compensating him for his ‘terrible’ treatment.
During the initial hearing earlier this year, the Tribunal was told that the man, who does not wish to be named, started work with Mammoet at its Stallingborough premises in 2007 as a mobile crane driver.
However, in October 2008, he had to undergo surgery to remove the lower part of his left leg and he was fitted with a prosthetic limb a few months later. Despite initial difficulties, he worked hard at his rehabilitation and was soon mobile again and keen to return to work.
Over many months, he lobbied Mammoet to take some steps to allow him to restart work, including an adjustment to the access ladder of his crane. Mammoet failed to make the adjustments and refused to allow him back to work, eventually dismissing him in June 2011.
In its decision, the Tribunal found that Mammoet had unlawfully discriminated against its employee on the grounds of his disability, both by the delay in properly dealing with the matter and by dismissing him.
The Tribunal said:
“It follows as night follows day that the dismissal must be an unfair one.”
The Tribunal went on to express surprise that an employer as big as Mammoet, an international company with a turnover of around £800m a year, did not understand the need to pay accrued holiday pay on the termination of his employment and Mammoet was ordered to pay further compensation for this.
In its findings, the Tribunal noted:
“Many people with that level of disability view their working life as having come to an end but not so the claimant. He was keen, anxious and willing to get back to work. He is an extremely impressive person in relation to the depth of work ethic that he has and the remarkable lengths that he has gone to to try and secure alternative employment.”
Bridge McFarland solicitor and employment law specialist, Chris Randall, said:
“The tribunal was clearly impressed by our client’s attitude and determination.
“We are absolutely delighted with this judgment which our client very much deserved and which will go some way to compensating him for the terrible treatment he has received. The way he has fought back after his operation and his determination to get back to work is an inspiration to us all.”