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Diabetic civil servant receives five-figure compensation payout for unlawful dismissal

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

A former HM Revenue and Customs employee has received £12,000 compensation after he was unlawfully dismissed for having diabetes.

Jamie Dowling, 38, was diagnosed with type one diabetes, which is a condition affecting blood sugar levels.

Mr Dowling has accepted the compensation offer, which was made after he launched a compensation claim for victimisation following his diagnosis and subsequent dismissal last year. He worked in the HMRC’s tax offices as a call centre advisor in County Durham.

Though Mr Dowling, a father of two, was forced to take some time off work due to his condition, the tribunal heard that his attendance record was better than the national average. The tribunal, which comprised of three judges and was held at Newcastle’s Quayside, was told that he was dismissed due to his poor attendance record.

Mr Dowling’s legal representative told the court that his client’s employers had failed to support him under the Disability Discrimination Act.

The HMRC opted to cease their defence of the case after one day of the hearing. This move came as a surprise, and they have admitted breaching employment law.

Steve Black, Mr Dowling’s injury solicitor, said: “Just as he was getting better and was not off work they decide to dismiss him.

“HMRC failed abjectly in their responsibility to care for their employee.

“This was a man who was drinking in the last chance saloon as far as his employer was concerned.

“He asked for help and reasonable adjustments to allow him to bring under control his condition and this was ignored.

“Mr Dowling was not treated fairly or responsibly. He tried at all times to control his condition and be the best employee he could be.”

HMRC lawyers said Mr Dowling had been sacked due to poor attendance which had a knock on effect on Mr Dowling’s team.

Mr Dowling said of the outcome: “This was about a point of principle and not about money, and I am pleased at the outcome.

“I want to move on now and start a new career. What happened to me was not right and I’m pleased that this has been proved to be the case.

“The fact that my employers called a halt to this case and made me an offer is telling.

“I think they realised that they could not defend what they did.

“I’m satisfied at what’s happened and now plan to move on with my life and work at a new career.

“I’d like to thank everyone who’s supported me through this. It’s been a hard time and I’ve lost a job I very much enjoyed.”

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