Crane worker amputee wins £38k for discrimination over disability
A CRANE operator has been awarded £38,000 in compensation after the firm he worked for refused to make it easy for him to return to work after having part of his leg amputated.
He was later dismissed, and a tribunal in Hull awarded him the money under disability discrimination laws.
International transport and heavy lifting company Mammoet UK Ltd, which formerly had a depot at Stallingborough, was ordered to pay the compensation after the tribunal heard the firm failed to make even simple adjustments that would have allowed the "loyal" worker to return to his job.
The crane operator, who does not wish to be named, took his employers to the tribunal and employed Bridge McFarland solicitors to act on his behalf.
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The workman was described as having "an impressive" work ethic and "considerable loyalty to his employer, a loyalty that was sadly not repaid."
He started work at the Stallingborough premises in 2007 as a mobile crane driver.
In October 2008, he had to undergo surgery to remove the lower part of his left leg and he was fitted with a prosthetic limb a few months later. Despite initial difficulties, he worked hard at his rehabilitation and was soon mobile again and keen to return to work. Over many months, he lobbied Mammoet to take some simple steps to allow him to restart work, including an adjustment to the access ladder of his crane.
Mammoet failed to make the adjustments and refused to allow him back to work, dismissing him in June 2011.
In its decision, the tribunal found that Mammoet had unlawfully discriminated against its employee on the grounds of his disability, both by the delay in properly dealing with the matter and by dismissing him.
The tribunal panel said: "It follows as night follows day that the dismissal must be an unfair one."
The tribunal went on to express surprise that an employer as big as Mammoet, an international company with a turnover of around £800 million a year, did not understand the need to pay accrued holiday pay on the termination of his employment and Mammoet was ordered to pay further compensation for this.
In its findings, the tribunal stated: "Many people with that level of disability view their working life as having come to an end but not so the claimant. He was keen, anxious and willing to get back to work. He is an extremely impressive person in relation to the depth of work ethic that he has and the remarkable lengths that he has undertaken to try to secure alternative employment."
Bridge McFarland solicitor and employment law specialist Chris Randall said: "The tribunal was clearly impressed by our client's attitude and determination."
He said his client had received "terrible treatment."
A spokesman for Mammoet UK declined to comment.