UKAPE wins £11.5k Settlement for Unfair Dismissal Following Ill-Health
A member’s three-year fight for justice was won despite strong resistance from his former employer. He suffered from arthritis, causing severe pain and stiffness, and then developed colitis, which was extremely debilitating. He went off sick due to an allergic reaction to his medication and did not subsequently return to work.
The company sick pay scheme provided for a private health insurance (PHI) scheme to pay 50% of salary after 28 weeks absence and also required that the company notify the provider of a potential claim, which they failed to do. On the 20th week of his sickness the company declared 60 redundancies, almost half of the workforce. Two weeks later our member was told that he had been selected for redundancy.
He was supported by UKAPE at his grievance against selection and at a subsequent internal appeal. Despite our strenuous representations, the appeal was rejected and it was claimed that even if our member had already been receiving benefit from the PHI scheme, his employment would have been terminated on redundancy grounds anyway.
At the appeal hearing, the member’s employment was terminated with payment in lieu of notice just two weeks before he qualified for benefit from the PHI scheme. A claim of unfair dismissal was lodged with an Employment Tribunal. The company offered a settlement of £3,000 on condition that all proceedings were dropped, which we rejected and we consulted with our solicitors.
We asked the Tribunal to suspend the unfair dismissal hearing, in order to pursue a breach of contract claim in the County Court, as the company had not given statutory notice of dismissal but given payment in lieu. Had they not given payment in lieu, the member would still have been employed two weeks after becoming eligible for PHI benefit. We had expert medical advice that the member would have easily qualified for benefit. The Tribunal agreed with us and our solicitors commenced proceedings.
The matter was settled out of Court and £11,500 paid into a trust for the member’s benefit.