Reasonable accommodations for disabled employees – how far must an employer go?

20-04-2016

Author: Michael Doyle



Introduction

In the past few days, there has been widespread media coverage of former Newcastle United Football club star Jonas Gutierrez’s successful disability discrimination claim against his old club. It has been reported that Mr Gutierrez could be awarded up to £2million in compensation, in light of the finding of the Birmingham employment tribunal that he had been discriminated against, by reason of his disability, on being dropped following his return from treatment for testicular cancer. The employment tribunal also found that Newcastle United had failed to provide reasonable accommodations for Mr Gutierrez by not taking account of his medical related absence when considering whether he had met a condition in his contract that required him to start a set number of games over a four year period, which if satisfied, would have triggered an automatic one year extension to his contract. This case serves as a high profile reminder to employers of the dangers of failing to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees, particularly when the failure to do so precedes a decision to dismiss.

The Irish High Court has recently had cause to consider the extent of the obligation to provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees and while nowhere near as high profile as the Gutierrez case, the judgment in Nano Nagle School v Daly [2015] IEHC 785 is of far more relevance and practical significance for Irish employers.

Read the full briefing here.

 

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