G4S Cash Solutions (UK) Ltd v Powell UKEAT/0243/15/RN

This case confirmed that an employer's duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee can be extended to continuing to pay a higher salary when the employee is moved to a lesser role.

The Claimant became disabled due to a back injury and was therefore moved from an engineering role maintaining cash machines to a less skilled 'key runner' role. The Claimant was led to believe this was a long term arrangement under which her terms and conditions would otherwise remain the same. However the employer then proposed reducing the Claimant's pay. When the Claimant refused the pay cut he was then dismissed.

The Employment Tribunal found the dismissal to be discriminatory and unfair, and that the reasonable adjustments requirement (s20 Equality Act 2010) extended to maintaining the Claimant's former pay in his new role. The EAT agreed, finding on appeal by G4S, that there was no reason why the duty to make reasonable adjustments would not extend to protecting an employee's pay (along with other measures) to counter a disabled employee's disadvantage, albeit that it may cease to be a reasonable adjustment in the future.

This is a reminder that employers should think broadly about what adjustments may be possible and reasonable when considering how to neutralise any disadvantages suffered by a disabled employee.