News Updates

Bonus and sickness

Thursday 26th March 2015

The EAT has held in Land Registry v Houghton and ors, that a bonus scheme which operates to exclude staff under a warning for sickness absence was disability discrimination.

LR’s bonus scheme automatically excluded staff if they had received a warning about their absence levels in the relevant financial year. LR had made adjustments to the usual trigger points of the warning procedure to recognise that the claimants’ disabilities would mean higher absences. However, the automatic exclusion from a bonus was held to be discrimination arising from disability.

This treatment could not be objectively justified as the managers, who could ignore a conduct warning, had no discretion to overrule the automatic exclusion triggered by the absence warning. In addition, improved attendance after the warning made no difference to the exclusion, which undermined LRs legitimate aim of rewarding good performance and attendance.

All information in this update is intended for general guidance only and is not intended to be comprehensive, or to provide legal advice.