Discrimination against contract worker

a teacher, had frequent sickness-related absences from work which included a
four-month absence when he was suffering from work-related stress and

returned to work for a few weeks but went on sick leave again in April 1997.
The school subsequently dismissed Edwards because of his continual absence
through illness and his incapacity to perform his contractual duties.

then brought an unfair dismissal claim. The tribunal held that the reason for
dismissal was incapacity by reason of long-term illness, a potentially fair
reason under the Employment Rights Act 1996. Lack of consultation, however,
rendered the dismissal unfair.

received only the basic award on the basis that he would have been dismissed in
any event.

successfully appealed. The EAT held that the tribunal should have taken into
account that Edwards’ illness was allegedly caused by his working environment
and his illness resulted in the incapacity which was the reason for dismissal.
The illness therefore was a relevant factor when considering whether or not it
was "just and inequitable in all the circumstances" to make an order
for compensation.

v Governors of Hanson School, unreported, January 2001, EAT

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