Employee with depression awarded £35,000 after being denied flexible working

A DWP employee who suffered from depression has been awarded £35,677 after he was denied flexible working hours by his employer and in doing so, failed to make reasonable adjustments.

The claimant, who worked as a DWP case manager from February 2016 until his dismissal in November 2017, was initially taken off flexible hours because he was regularly late.

He requested to be put back on after his depression worsened but this was rejected by his employer.

The DWP advised that Mr Hargreaves did not satisfy their “litmus test” by showing that he was suitable for flexible working due to his prior lateness.

To make matters worse, DWP disciplined him for gross misconduct due to him failing to work his contractual working hours and for the incorrect recording of hours.

He was terminated and a subsequent appeal was rejected.

The Judge rejected DWP’s argument that he was “unsuitable” for flexible working as his circumstances had “changed considerably” since the initial period of flexible working, as his treatment plan had moved on and he was “in a different place” in his life.

The tribunal ruled DWP failed to comply with a duty to make reasonable adjustments when it failed to allow the claimant to work flexible hours.

He succeeded in his claims that the DWP discriminated against him when treating him unfavourably by dismissing him.

This case demonstrates the importance of considering the effects of long term health conditions and what steps employers must go to accommodate adjustments in the workplace.

It isn’t wise to reject requests for flexibility, nor is it a good idea to discipline an employee over breaches of conduct related to a request for reasonable adjustments.

If you would like to receive the latest employment law updates by email sign up for our monthly newsletter. You can unsuscribe at any time.