Connaught Electronics T/A Valeo Vision Systems (Represented by Irish Business and Employers' Confederation) v Margaret Burke (Represented by Services Industrial Professional Technical Union)

 
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Labour Court (Ireland)

FULL RECOMMENDATION

ADE/17/10

DETERMINATION NO.EDA1818

DEC-E2017-004

PARTIES:
Connaught Electronics T/A Valeo Vision Systems (Represented by Irish Business and Employers' Confederation)
and
Margaret Burke (Represented by Services Industrial Professional Technical Union)
SUBJECT:
1

1. Appeal of Adjudication Officer Decision No. DEC-E2017-004.

BACKGROUND:
2

2. The Employee appealed the Decision of the Adjudication Officer to the Labour Court in accordance with Section 83(1) of the Employment Equality Acts, 1998 to 2011. A Labour Court hearing took place on 20 February 2018. The following is the Determination of the Court:

DETERMINATION:
3

This is an appeal by Margaret Burke the Complainant against the Decision of an Adjudication Officer in a claim of discrimination on grounds of disability and failure to make reasonable accommodation. The complaint was made pursuant to the Employment Equality Acts 1998–2015 (the Act).

4

The Adjudication Officer found that pursuant to section 79(6) of the Act, that the Respondent had provided appropriate measures and therefore found against the Complainant.

Facts
5

The material primary facts of this case are not in dispute and can be summarised as follows;

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The Complainant has been employed as a production operator by the Respondent since June 2009. She was certified sick with a gynaecological condition which required surgery in July 2013 and diagnosed with cancer in September 2013.

7

A return to work date of 13 th October 2014 was agreed. The Complainant was certified fit to return to work by her GP. No qualifications on her return to work were set down by her GP.

8

On her return to work the Complainant sought to be facilitated with a “sit-down-job”.

9

Due to the nature of the work there are only limited opportunities to facilitate “sit down jobs”.

10

The Respondent referred the Complainant to the Company doctor in November 2014 in relation to a number of issues including her fitness to carry out a standing role. The Doctor certified her medically fit to remain in work in a standing role. A number of meetings involving the Respondent and the Complainants Union took place where she continued amongst other things to raise the issue of a “sitting role” At a meeting on 24 th April 2015 the Respondent indicated that it believed it had more than fulfilled its duty in facilitating the Complainant's phased return to work and that she had been deemed medically fit to carry out the standing role by her own GP and the Company Doctor.

11

On 27 th May 2015 the Respondent received a letter from a Consultant Urologist “earnestly requesting” that the Complainant be accommodated by work in a seated position rather than having to stand for prolonged periods of time.

12

On the 19 th November 2015 when a vacancy arose Ms Burke was assigned to a “sit—down job”.

Position of the Parties
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The positions taken by the parties can be summarised as follows:-

The Complainant's case
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The effects of the cancer treatment meant that the Complainant required the employer to take appropriate measures to support her in the work place. The Complainant suffered from chronic pain and tiredness which could be alleviated by working in a sitting position. The provision of a “sit-down-job” or a rotation between sitting and standing was not a disproportionate burden on the employer. The Complainant does not dispute that her GP did not put any restriction on her return to work or that the Company doctor had certified her fit for a standing role. She identified a number of people who she felt had ben facilitated with sitting roles albeit on a temporary...

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