Case note: Da Costa v. Summer Garden Salads Limited 7324/17IT (31 October 2018)

The Industrial Tribunals in Belfast recently heard a case of disability discrimination arising out of the chopping of onions.

By way of background, the Claimant had worked for the Respondent in various roles since 2011. The Respondent was aware that she had significant difficulties with her eyesight, being blind in one eye and having glaucoma in the other.

In 2017, a change to working practises required the Claimant to work with freshly chopped onions. Given her disability, this presented significant difficulties resulting in a period of sick leave. On the Claimant’s return to work, the Respondent considered that it was unable to accommodate her with alternative duties and dismissed her accordingly.

This was found to be direct discrimination on grounds of disability. The Respondent represented itself and was ordered by the Industrial Tribunals to pay the Claimant £11,852.15 in compensation.  With timely legal advice, this is a case that might have been resolved earlier, if not avoided altogether.

By Paul Sullivan FRSA

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