Union member discriminated against
(13/2/06) Ealing council in London acted unlawfully when it turned down UNISON member Mark Isles, who has Aspergerís syndrome, for a job, an employment tribunal ruled yeserday.
UNISON took the case to the tribunal, citing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and arguing that Isles was unfairly turned down for an internal secondment.
The employment tribunal awarded Isles £9,058.37 in respect of injury to feelings and financial loss.
UNISONís regional officer Stuart Barber welcomed the judgment and said it will a clear message to all employers that they must treat people with disabilities with dignity and respect and not as second-class citizens.
"The council must show and demonstrate it has learnt some important lessons from this ruling," he said. "It must make an example of those in management who were responsible for this discrimination and ensure that this will never happen again."
The council had accepted that Isles had Aspergerís syndrome, but had sought to show that it was too mild to be covered by the Disability Discrimination Act ,although it had previously used his condition as a justification for rejecting his application.
The tribunal accepted that, cumulatively, the effects of Isles' Aspergerís syndrome were substantial and that therefore he was covered by the act.
In March 2004, Isles had applied for a business design project officer post but was not short-listed despite having done an almost identical job satisfactorily only a few months earlier, where he had even been asked to stay on.
Isles welcomed the tribunalís judgement and said he felt vindicated in bringing the action.
"I should never have been turned down for this job and hope that the council will choose to sit down and discuss with my UNISON representatives and me how we can learn from this whole experience," he said.