Northampton

Northamptonshire NHS discriminated against disabled man

A 28-year-old man with Asperger's Syndrome has won £25,000 compensation for discrimination from Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust.

An employment tribunal found the trust was wrong to offer Dale Morgan from Northampton a permanent job and then withdraw it over his disability.

The trust said the temporary worker's references were "unsatisfactory".

Now the trust admits its diversity and equality policy was not followed but would be strictly enforced in future.

Mr Morgan applied for a job as an information analyst with the trust in January 2009 while he was already a temporary worker.

During his interview, Mr Morgan said he suffered with this disability, stress and anxiety.

He was offered the job subject to satisfactory references but received notice it had been withdrawn the day before he was due to see an occupational health specialist appointed by the trust.

Mr Morgan went to see the specialist regardless in a bid to ascertain why the job offer was withdrawn as no explanation had been given.

He had been working for the trust for about 10 months and had experience in this type of work.

The judge found that Dale raised the issue of disability discrimination with the primary care trust but its staff failed to take this into account falling back instead on its policy of requiring two satisfactory references.

Lessons were learnt

Members of the interview panel were encouraged to be aware of the possibility of discrimination as a factor within an unsatisfactory reference, the hearing was told.

The primary care trust deliberately gave the disability no further consideration, the tribunal heard.

After the case a spokesperson said: "NHS Northamptonshire is committed to equality and diversity. This commitment goes far beyond just meeting statutory obligations.

"We are committed to further developing this organisational culture, which continuously promotes equality and diversity, eliminates unlawful discrimination and reduces health inequalities.

"The lessons learned from this case have already been incorporated in the way we continue to deliver our equality and diversity commitment."

Mr Morgan was represented by Stephensons Solicitors who said: "The trust should have given consideration to their own guidance on disability discrimination.

"They then could have considered a whole host of adjustments that were not likely to be expensive, time consuming or difficult to arrange."

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