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Cutting off stressed employee’s emails amounted to discrimination

An employee who was unable to enter into a share purchase plan because he wasn’t allowed to receive company emails while off work with stress has won a disability discrimination claim.

The employee worked for a company that had a policy of denying long-term absentees access to corporate emails. This meant he was not made aware of the company’s new share purchase plan and so was unable take advantage of it.

He also suffered delay in joining a second plan, which meant he incurred a large tax liability. He needed hospital treatment after suffering further stress while struggling to pay the tax due when he belatedly exercised the share options.

The employment tribunal found that the company had substantially disadvantaged the employee by denying access to emails. It had failed to make reasonable adjustments so that he could be kept informed of developments.

The tribunal found that the employee had been subjected to discrimination arising from his disability.

He was awarded £5,000 for the injury to his feelings and £5,000 for the loss caused by the employer’s failure to provide timely information about the share options.

However, the tribunal dismissed his claim that he had suffered harassment when the company cut off his email account.

Please contact us about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.


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