In the case study below, we look at the importance of complying with the policies and procedures provided by ACAS in a case involving an employer who utilised a private eye to investigate an allegedly disabled employee.
The employee, who had been working for his employer for 5 years, alleged that he suffered from a disability. The management did not accept the extent of the disability and suspected that the employee had engineered his medical report and may also be working for another employer so utilised covert surveillance to check him out.
Upon receipt of the report, they could not confirm their suspicion however they were content that he was not devoting all his efforts to them as an employer.
They initiated disciplinary proceedings against the employee for failing to devote all his working time and disclosed the report as part of the disciplinary process and in accordance with the published ACAS code of practice.
The employee complained to the Employment Tribunal about harassment and victimisation (on the grounds of disability) by both the employer and the investigator.
The employee’s claim succeeded in the Employment Tribunal and the employer appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal concluded that the Employment Tribunal partially got it wrong and concluded amongst other things that the employer cannot be liable for victimisation or harassment if the disclosure is made pursuant to the ACAS code of Practice.
This is an important decision as it underlines and emphasises the importance of compliance with the policies and procedures provided by ACAS which are not themselves binding on a Tribunal but offer some protection for employers who find themselves facing allegations of discriminatory conduct and claims.
The Employment Team at Peter Lynn and Partners has the skill and expertise to provide professional guidance and legal advice surrounding this complex and frequently changing area of law.
To arrange a confidential meeting with our Employment Law team, contact 01792 450010 or email email@example.com