Woman fired over disability to get €40k

Marks & Spencer has been ordered to pay €40,000 to a former employee of its Dundrum store after the Equality Tribunal ruled that she was discriminated against when the store fired her on grounds of disability.

The tribunal found that Marks & Spencer failed to provide appropriate measures that would allow Bernie Clavin to continue to be employed by the company following an injury which she suffered outside work in March 2011.

The tribunal found that in dismissing Ms Clavin, the store “went through some of the motions necessary to defend a discriminatory dismissal claim” but “fell far short of best practice in many ways”.

“No real explorations of reasonable accommodation were made,” the tribunal found. “An appropriate measure in the circumstances of this case would have been to allow Ms Clavin recover from her operation and explore a return to work [based on medical expertise] in a few months subsequent to that meeting.

“Had Ms Clavin’s job been kept open for her for another six months, it is highly probable that she would have been able to return to work as she has made a good recovery,” the tribunal reported.

Marks & Spencer was ordered to pay Ms Clavin €40,000, the equivalent of 18 months of salary, and to review its policy and procedures.

The decision was one of 26 published by the director of the Equality Tribunal that were issued during the month of July. Six were upheld.


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