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Circular No: NP/217/16
Our Ref: LA/
9 September 2016
To: Branches, Regional Councils, Lead Officers
The Legal Department would like to bring to your attention that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that the employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee can extend to continuing to pay a higher salary when the disabled employee is moved to a lesser skilled role.
The facts in G4S Cash Solutions (UK) Ltd v Powell UKEAT/0243/15/RN were that during 2012 as a result of his disability Mr Powell was no longer able to carry out his role as an engineer and so started working in a less skilled “key runner” support role. Mr Powell retained his original salary. G4S then proposed to reduce Mr Powell’s pay. Mr Powell was not prepared to accept the reduction in his pay, which equated to a 10% reduction, and he was dismissed.
The Employment Tribunal found the dismissal to be discriminatory and unfair, and that the required reasonable adjustments extended to maintaining Mr Powell’s former pay in his new role. G4S appealed.
The EAT dismissed the appeal and found no reason in principle why the duty to make reasonable adjustments would not extend to protecting an employee's pay.
In conclusion the EAT noted that it will not be an "everyday event" for an employer to provide pay protection, and that the consideration for a Tribunal will always be whether it is reasonable for an employer to have to take that step to avert a disabled employee's disadvantage.