Reasonable Adjustments and Warnings

Should a warning for absences be disregarded if they are disability related?

We all know that an employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments to counter a disability is far reaching: but does it extend to ignoring a final written warning issued due to disability related absenteeism?

In this case the employee had been given a final written warning due to 206 days of absence.

Set to a background of ever widening duties for employers in this area, you will be forgiven for being surprised to learn that the Employment Appeal Tribunal thinks not!

In General Dynamics v Carranza (full marks for a snappy case name there!) the EAT decided that ‘disregarding’ a warning was not a ‘step’ within Section 20 Equality Act 2010.

The EAT said that formally ‘revoking’ a warning might be a ‘step’, but decided that this would not be a reasonable adjustment anyway.

As with all case law, decisions are often linked to the particular facts of the case. However, this is a helpful and common sense decision that employers will certainly welcome.

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