Expert assistance to successfully manoeuvre out of a tight disciplinary corner
Published 01 November 2023
Luckless delivery driver Andros did not have the best start in his new job when he crashed a company van after just four days – and it got worse
By the time he reached his six-month probation review, he had been involved in three other minor accidents. All occurred while he was reversing a vehicle.
The letter inviting him to the probation meeting, and what was also said to be a disciplinary hearing, warned dismissal was a potential outcome.
When Andros contacted our Employee Support Centre for help, it is fair to say he stated the obvious when he said he thought a driving job was not for him.
Andros told our representative that he only took the job out of desperation and following redundancy after 15 years working at an airport.
He was eager to avoid being dismissed from his current job, which he felt would make it difficult for him to secure a new role elsewhere.
What he wanted from our representative, was his help to try to stop the inevitable.
They discussed Andros’s length of service and the idea of him handing in his resignation.
But Andros was adamant he wanted to attend the meeting and explain himself because it was of paramount importance to him that he did so.
Our representative quizzed Andros about what happened, and it emerged there was significant mitigation in his case.
Andros had Autism, which he had not made his employer aware of when he started the role. It became clear it had played a fundamental role in what occurred.
Andros explained on his second day in the job he had a near miss in the company car park while reversing, which was witnessed by his boss.
His manager told him if he was not careful he would have an accident and could seriously hurt someone.
The probation review meeting was told that Andros became fixated on the comment, which was a symptom of his Autism. He would be nervous, worried and fearful when reversing
Our representative told the meeting it was a driving manoeuvre that subsequently left him panic-stricken. Andros was convinced he would crash every time he did it and, when he did, it was expected of him and unavoidable.
The meeting was told by our representative that as the concerns in question can be considered to arise as a direct result of a disability, any disciplinary sanction which was unfair or too severe could amount to disability discrimination.
The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals from discrimination based on disability and sets out when someone is considered to be disabled and protected from discrimination.
Our representative accepted it would have been better had Andros declared his disability at the outset of his employment, but pointed out there was no legal obligation for him to do so.
It was explained he had spent so long in his previous role, in which he was supported, he feared the stigma should he declare he had a disability.
The hearing was told the fact he was making it clear at that time does mean it has to be considered in the decision -making process. Our representative asserted that it was the most fundamental factor in what occurred.
The hearing was told Andros was willing to attend an occupational health assessment or provide a GP report if it would help the employer to get a better understanding of his disability, symptoms and impact of it before it reached an outcome.
Aware that Andros simply wanted to leave without being sacked meant our representative was able to propose to the employer that it just allow him to leave.
He said Andros accepted the job was not for him and was extremely remorseful and apologetic about what occurred and any problems he caused. There was a lot of discussion around the case.
Afterwards the employer allowed Andros to leave without dismissing him, but on the condition he signed a settlement agreement. He was delighted to do so.