NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Former BrewDog worker wins eyesight payout after losing job

Brewdog, Punk IPA bottles Image copyright Brewdog

A former worker with Scottish beer firm BrewDog has been awarded £12,000 after losing his job due to eyesight problems.

James Ross had taken the craft brewer to an employment tribunal.

He had reported deteriorating eyesight and the company decided he could not continue in his packaging job.

BrewDog said it had offered him an alternative role, and had a duty to prioritise the safety of the team.

Mr Ross had been working in the company's Aberdeenshire brewery.

'Upset and distressed'

RNIB Scotland had suggested adaptations that could be made to allow him to continue.

However Mr Ross - who has been contacted for comment - lost his job after rejecting another role within the company.

The tribunal heard he had been "upset and distressed".

He has now been awarded £12,052.

The tribunal also expressed concerns about the "lack of knowledge" of BrewDog employees dealing with such matters, and said it trusted appropriate action would be taken.

Image copyright BrewDog
Image caption James Watt (left) Martin Dickie set up BrewDog in 2007

A BrewDog spokesperson said: "This was a really difficult situation for every member of our team involved in it, and clearly for the tribunal panel too as their decision on the outcome was split.

"We worked with James in order to find a suitable alternative role within the business where his safety would not be compromised, but James wanted to keep his packaging role.

"We ended up in a position where we had to balance James' wishes with the best interests of the team around him, and while we regret that an agreement couldn't be reached, we have a moral responsibility to prioritise the safety of our team.

"We are really sorry that this situation has ended this way and wish James all the best in his new role and upcoming studies."

'Encouraging employers'

RNIB Scotland, which supports blind and partially sighted people, said: "Many employers still assume this group would be difficult or even impossible to employ.

"We know of journalists, teachers, bankers and physicists working in Scotland with sight loss.

"It's about encouraging employers to focus on what people are able to do, not what they can't."

Friends James Watt and Martin Dickie set up the sometimes controversial firm in 2007 in Fraserburgh.

BrewDog now employs hundreds of staff and has bars around the world.

The two founders were awarded MBEs in the Queen's Birthday Honours list in 2016.

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