In a recent remedy hearing in the case of Mr S Karim v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis: 2207504/2021, an Employment Tribunal awarded the Claimant a minimum of £86,155 in damages as a result of suffering disability discrimination with the full amount yet to be determined.
The case, which was decided in January 2023, involved a trainee police officer who successfully claimed discrimination arising from a disability, indirect discrimination, and a failure to make reasonable adjustments. Despite passing an initial hearing test, the officer reported that he struggled to hear instructions, experienced feedback through his hearing aids and that police sirens were causing him difficulty. As a result of those issues, the police force redeployed him to a non-operational rule. Eventually, the Claimant was referred to the police force’s Occupational Health department. He was ruled as medically fit to carry out an operational role, but was advised to obtain a Roger pen, which is a wireless microphone that helps the user to understand speech in noisy conditions. However, instead of purchasing this for him, the police force asked him to pay 30% of the cost and obtain insurance for the device (which he did).
The police force extended his probation on a number of occasions before carrying out a number of tests including a police chase simulation where the officer had to stop to replace his hearing aid battery. The police force concluded that he failed the test, and he was dismissed. Following a hearing, an Employment Tribunal ruled that there were less discriminatory ways of achieving the legitimate aims put forward by the Respondent and concluded that the police force should have made reasonable adjustments, including paying for the Roger Pen themselves rather than requiring the Claimant to pay for it.
The outcome of this case highlights the importance for employers to implement reasonable adjustments as the consequence of not doing so can be costly. The Roger Pen would have cost the police force under £1000 and the decision not to pay for this in full (in addition to the sacking) has eventually cost the police force over £80,000. It also highlights the importance for employers to consider a wide range of options before deciding to dismiss an employee. The Employment team at EMW are always on hand to support with situations like this.
The full judgment for the remedy hearing can be found here: assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/63b44982e90e072899ce5874/Mr_S_Karim__vs_The_Commissioner_of_Police_of_the_Metropolis.pdf.
The full judgment for the initial hearing can be found here: Mr_S_Karim__vs_The_Commissioner_of_Police_of_the_Metropolis…pdf (publishing.service.gov.uk).