To round off this month’s newsletter we bring you the latest piece of outlandish employment law. This month’s case is a seasonal Halloween blunder and concerns a Mr Grosset, who has won his three year disability discrimination case against York Council following his dismissal as Head of English from the Joseph Rowntree School.
Mr Grosset suffered from Cystic Fibrosis and was also suffering from stress due to long hours and other conditions at the school. In an error of judgment he showed an 18 rated horror film at the end of term to a class of 16 year olds. Mr Grosset was dismissed for gross misconduct shortly after.
He claimed the lack of reasonable adjustments for his condition as well as his stressful workload meant the school had discriminated against him and not treated this as mitigating circumstances when deciding to dismiss.
The ET agreed and awarded Mr Grosset £180,000, (there is no cap for discrimination claims) potentially rising to £500,000 when loss of final salary pension is factored in. At appeal the EAT upheld the decision stating York Council had seriously failed its disabled employee by not making allowances for a serious condition. At face value this case seems absurd but it does serve as a reminder that discrimination cases can be very costly if the employer is held liable.