Bipolar man wins unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal

MoJA bipolar man has been awarded a five-figure sum by the Employment Tribunal after it was found that he had been discriminated against during the application process for a job.

Mr Steven Larg applied for a job in the operations department of Sellafield in 2012 – being one of 7,000 people to apply for 200 posts. He was successful in getting through to the final stages of the recruitment process and was given a conditional job offer. However, upon a medical being undertaken concerns were raised about Mr Larg’s mental health and he was told that he was unfit to be a radiation worker. His job offer was therefore withdrawn. Mr Larg subsequently made an Employment Tribunal claim for disability discrimination.

The case came before the Manchester Employment Tribunal in October 2013. Mr Larg contended that the withdrawal of the job offer amounted to less favourable treatment. His claim was largely based on the failure to offer him a suitable alternative role that was in existence at the time and that he had not been offered this suitable alternative role because of his disability. Sellafield defended the claim on the basis that Mr Larg had been unsuitable for the original role and that they had made reasonable efforts to place him in an alternative role.

The Employment Tribunal found that there was a failure to offer Mr Larg a non-classified alternative role at Sellafield and that this conduct constituted less favourable treatment. The Tribunal found that there had been “chaotic” and “inconsistent” accounts from managers at Sellafield and awarded Mr Larg £22,431 in compensation, with Mr Larg being awarded £6,000 for injury to feelings and £15,390 for loss of potential earnings.

Chris Hadrill, an employment solicitor at Redmans Solicitors, commented on the case: “This case shows that employers must be extremely careful to treat disabled applicants and employees in a fair and impartial manner. A failure to do so can result in an expensive and time-consuming employment tribunal claim.”