Unfair Dismissal on disability grounds

The complainant, who had a 33-year career with the company had provided a fit to return certificate after a lengthy period of sick leave, subject to him not being required to engage in travel and adjustments in responsibilities. In line with the GP’s recommendations, the employer decided the complainant was unable to continue in his role as he was unable to travel to the extent required for his job. The employer advised the complainant that there were no other suitable roles available and as a result the employer dismissed him due to incapability. The complainant appealed the decision however it was upheld. He then lodged a complaint with Workplace Relations Commission WRC as his rights under employment equality were breached as the employer did not provide him with reasonable accommodation.


The case was before the Labour Court after the complainant appealed a WRC ruling where he was awarded €20,000.


UPS Ireland told the Labour Court the reason for dismissal was medical incapability. They also stated that at the time of dismissal, the complainant was incapable of carrying out his role due to his inability to travel internationally. They argued that they went to great lengths to accommodate the complainant including offering him a lesser role with a lower salary. They contended that paying him his existing salary while he carried out a lesser role would have been a disproportionate burden on the company.


The company stated Mr Roberts was not discriminated against on grounds of disability nor was he unfairly dismissed.


The Court found that the employer did not meet the requirements for a reasonable accommodation of the employee. Therefore, the employees’ rights were breached, resulting in a discriminatory dismissal. They awarded the complainant €75,000.


This shows that employers should not just arbitrarily dismiss employees without looking at the circumstances leading up to the alleged misconduct. 

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