Disabled Employee Wins Unfair Dismissal

In the case of Mr W Santos Ramos v Royal Mail Group Ltd, the Employment Tribunal held that the Claimant was unfairly dismissed by the Respondent within section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

The Facts of Mr W Santos Ramos v Royal Mail Group Ltd

The Claimant was an employee between 23 April 2012 and 21 February 2019 and worked in the Operational Postal Grade.  He was signed off with stress from 25 June 2018. During his sick leave, he had an Occupational Health assessment.

The Claimant returned to work full time on 14 November and confirmed that he still has panic attacks. He also said he finds it difficult to adapt to new areas with different walks.

On 8 December 2018, the Claimant came in to work a full shift. However, he didn’t deliver over 130 items and didn’t report illness on that day. On the next working day, the Claimant delivers the mail from the previous shift despite his manager saying no.

Upon being caught by a co-worker, the Claimant was asked to return to the office and suspended. During the fact-finding interview, the Claimant argued that he took the work home with him as he couldn’t see in the dark. Furthermore, he said that he was put on unfamiliar routes and was scared that he would be bullied or harassed if he brought work back.

Following that, the Claimant had several conduct meetings with the delivery office manager—Ms Jarvis. In the meeting, they discussed the situation that had occurred.  The Claimant responded with numerous comments and additional information after the first meeting, but nothing was further addressed.

Subsequently, the Claimant was dismissed without notice on 21 February 2019. He was mainly accused of intentional delay of mail, breach of mail integrity and loss of mail items. Regarding the first claim, Ms Jarvis argues that the Claimant changed his statement several times. She also claimed that the Claimant did not accept the impact it had made on the business. Plus, several items were indeed missing.

The Claimant quickly informed the Respondent that he wanted to appeal because he believed it was an unfair dismissal. Ms Jarvis was asked about her procedural mistake because, allegedly, she dismissed the claimant for the charge he had not faced. However, Ms Jarvis argued that the dismissal was not unfair as there were more serious conduct issues that led to the dismissal.

On 25 February 2019, the occupational Health report was published. The report state that the Claimant was suffering from severe depression and anxiety. Furthermore, Ms Shields, who produced the report, has argued that Claimant’s condition has contributed to him not being able to deliver his post-round that day.  Ms Jarvis came to a conclusion before the report was even published. Hence, she clearly did not investigate the matter fairly.

On 17 April 2019, the Respondent provided the appeal outcome, which confirmed the previous decision that it was an unfair dismissal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The tribunal has found that the investigation was unfair and unreasonable. This is because the dismissing officer was a witness to part of the investigation. Furthermore, the Tribunal held that a reasonable employer would not have dismissed the claimant for acting in the way the Claimant did in this scenario. This is because they knew that he was suffering from a medical condition.