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Employment Law Update – Disability Discrimination

Reasons to choose Wilson Browne

A reminder to employers of the obligation to consider reasonable adjustments before dismissing a disabled employee.

The decision in a recent Employment Tribunal Case (Miller v Rentokil) should act as a reminder to employers of the duty on businesses to make reasonable adjustments to premises or working practices where a disabled job applicant or employee is placed at a substantial disadvantage. This duty includes considering the possibility of moving the employee to an alternative role, at least on a trial basis.

Mr Miller was employed as a Pest Control Technician which was described as a ‘field role.’ In 2017 he was diagnosed with MS. Despite numerous adjustments and modifications being made to his role and working conditions, it became apparent that there was no viable way for Mr Miller to continue working as a Pest Control Technician.

In 2019 Mr Miller applied internally for an administration role, but he was not successful. Shortly after, he was dismissed on capability grounds. Mr Miller claimed that failing to move him to the administration role amounted to a failure to make reasonable adjustments.

The EAT agreed with the Tribunal’s decision in upholding Mr Miller’s claim. Mr Miller had successfully shown that the administration role was an alternative role that was appropriate and suitable, so the burden shifted to Rentokil to show that the administration role would not be reasonable. The Tribunal found that the Rentokil’s failure to even offer a trial period meant that dismissal was ‘inevitable’.

Employers should, therefore, consider offering suitable alternative employment on a trial period in the first instance to reduce their risk of a disability discrimination claim. This is because it gives the opportunity for the employee to demonstrate if the role really is suited for them.

For more information, please see our Guide on Disability Discrimination and Reasonable Adjustments here

Contact our employment law team today.

Amy Lee


Amy Lee


Amy is often the first point of contact for clients of the employment team.