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When is treatment unfavourable?

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When is treatment unfavourable?

Williams v The Trustees of Swansea University Pension & Assurance Scheme

 

Unfavourable treatment is an essential element of a disability discrimination claim. The Williams case considered what this actually means.

Mr Williams had a number of health problems. After working full-time for the University for 10 years, the University implemented reasonable adjustments to working hours and he moved to part-time. A few years later, at the age of 38, he took ill-health retirement. He was entitled to a pension that was far more advantageous than that available to a non-disabled colleague. However, as part of the pension was based on final salary (and Mr Williams’ final salary was a part-time, rather than full-time, one) it was less advantageous to him than a pension that would have been payable to a disabled colleague who had been struck down suddenly and had retired without first working part-time.

The tribunal held that Mr Williams had been subjected to unjustified unfavourable treatment. But the Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal disagreed. Unfavourable treatment isn’t the same as detriment. A person hasn’t been treated unfavourably if the advantage they have received could have been greater.

There might be an appeal, so watch this space.