Manager awarded €30,000 over Crohn's disease dismissal

Tech manager told his employer medical condition can flare up if his commute was delayed by heavy traffic so sought to work from home on Fridays
Manager awarded €30,000 over Crohn's disease dismissal

Gordon Deegan

A technology company has been ordered to pay a Development Manager €30,000 compensation for dismissing him on the grounds of his disability, Crohn’s disease.

At the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC), Adjudicator Marian Duffy found that the firm carried out a discriminatory dismissal concerning the employee’s disability.

In the case, Ms Duffy has ordered the €30,000 payout for the distress caused to the Development Manager and the effects of the discriminatory treatment and dismissal.

Ms Duffy stated that in deciding the amount of compensation, she noted that the complainant left another job to take up the position with the tech firm and found himself out of work after about four months.

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

The manager commenced working for the firm on November 5th 2018 on a salary of €60,000 plus a bonus.

However, the man was dismissed on March 14th 2019 while still on probation.

Performance and deadlines

Ms Duffy stated that the employer told the manager that he was dismissed because of concerns regarding his performance and results achieved, the missing of deadlines, failure to attend meetings and his approach to his working hours.

However, the manager told the hearing that the reasons given for the dismissal were spurious and do not stand up to scrutiny.

He argued that his performance was of a similar level to his colleagues who were not dismissed.

The manager informed his employer of his Crohn’s condition on January 17th 2019 and asked for permission to work from home on Friday afternoons to avoid the heavy traffic on his commute home to Kildare.

Friday traffic

He said that his medical condition can flare up if his commute was delayed by heavy traffic and in particularly on Friday evening as the traffic is very heavy.

However, his immediate boss said that she could not commit to allow him work from home on Fridays.

In her findings, Ms Duffy noted that the complainant’s manager on February 19th complimented him on a great results he had achieved in a particular pilot project.

Ms Duffy stated that the dismissal decision was taken after the complainant requested a change of the date for a one-to-one meeting with his manager.

The manager requested a meeting at 4pm and the complainant declined this time because he said his shift finished at 4 pm and this was for health reasons.

Ms Duffy stated: “To dismiss the complainant for declining a meeting at 4 pm, because Occupational Health had not granted reasonable accommodation, in circumstances where the employer had already agreed a finishing time at 4 pm for work-life balance in my opinion was not reasonable and amounts to a discriminatory dismissal.”

She stated that the complainant’s evidence was that he worked from 7:30 am to 4 pm in order to avoid the impact on his medical condition of any traffic delays in his commute to Kildare.

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