Penningtons Manches

UK 200 2014 position: 60

Is downgrading an employee’s role an act of harassment?

This question was recently considered by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board v Hughes & Ors. Mrs Hughes was a senior nurse with 31 years’ service. After contracting Parkinson’s disease, she could no longer carry out her clinical role.

The hospital created a non-clinical role for her, which also preserved her salary. However, over time (a period of six years), the meaningful aspects of that role were chipped away at, to the point that ‘a grade-six nursing sister [was] now being asked to look after cardboard boxes’.

The EAT upheld the tribunal’s decision that this ‘downgrading’ of her role amounted to harassment related to disability — it was unwanted conduct that had the effect of violating her dignity and creating a demeaning environment for her…

Click on the link below to read the rest of the Penningtons Manches briefing.

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