Sacked diabetic worker accepts out-of-court settlement

A shopfloor worker who was sacked for having diabetes has accepted an out-of-court settlement, thought to be about £3,000.

Elizabeth Morrison, a former bakery assistant, said she was dismissed from Emma’s Country Cakes in Gloucestershire after her manager claimed her medical condition made her a liability on the factory floor.

Morrison’s case was taken up by the Disability Rights Commission as one of the first examples of direct discrimination under the amended Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The Act protects people suffering with a disability from clear prejudice.

Morrison’s manager had wrongly assumed that she would have frequent blackouts which could be potentially hazardous in terms of health and safety. But the only reasonable adjustment the factory would have needed to make was to ensure she had regular rest breaks, every four hours or so, to ensure her insulin levels were maintained.

Adam Turner, employment lawyer at Lovells, said he was very surprised by the case. “The company has clearly breached the obligations of the DDA which is aimed specifically at situations like this. It’s caused by a clear stigma about a perceived disability,” he said.

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