Employment Matters — February 2014: duty of employer to pay for employee’s counselling

The Employment Appeal Tribunal, in the claim of Croft Vets Ltd and others v Butcher, considered whether a veterinary practice — by failing to pay for a depressed employee’s private psychiatric treatment — had breached its duty to make reasonable adjustments to enable her to return to work.

The claimant had worked for a number of years as a finance and reception manager at the practice. From 2008 to 2010, due to a combination of additional duties and the serious illness of her mother, the claimant came under severe pressure and her performance began to suffer.

In March 2010, she was relieved of several of her duties and told to concentrate on just one. However, in April 2010, after she was found in tears, the claimant was offered two choices by her employer: (i) continue with her current role and take steps to improve her performance; or (ii) narrow her job description and take a pay cut. The following week, the claimant was signed off sick with depression…

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