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Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Accommodation

The case of John Baker v Doyles Veg Prep Limited ADJ-00036303 concerned a claim for discrimination by the employee on the grounds of disability (asthma and COPD) and failure by the employer to provide him with “reasonable accommodation” under the Employment Equality Acts in respect of these disabilities.

The Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) looked at the obligations on an employer to engage with an employee with a disability and determine what needed to be done to facilitate their return to work. It noted that there was a “clear and consistent failure on the Respondent’s part to demonstrate engagement with the Complainant….They were on notice of the Complainant’s disability and that he and his doctor believed that this was keeping him out of work and that this could be addressed by the Respondent offering a different working environment. I see no evidence that the Respondent actually examined whether these measures could be facilitated or whether they might demonstrate a disproportionate burden. On this basis I am satisfied that the Respondent discriminated against the Complainant…”.

The WRC awarded the employee 4,000 euro and took into account the employee’s own conduct and the fact that he had been a “difficult employee” and had failed to maintain a proper working relationship with his employer.

The WRC also directed the employer to review its policies regarding accommodating disabilities in the workplace.

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