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Devil in the detail

first_img Comments are closed. The complexities of the Disability Discrimination Act make it easy to slipup in practice.  There are areas inwhich occupational health and personnel practitioners really need to be ontheir toes.  By Paul D McMahon Helen, who is employed as an IT support assistant in an insurance company,has been injured in a car accident. She suffered head injuries and a brokenpelvis and as a result has permanent restriction of movement in her upper bodyand learning difficulties. On her return to work she explains to Mike, her linemanager, that she can no longer take part in her favourite hobby of potholing,and has great difficulty in carrying out household chores involving bending andlifting. Mike, however, noticed she did not appear to have any restriction ofmovement when he saw her moving computer equipment last week, but wonders ifHelen may be disabled in terms of employment legislation. The DDA definition of disabled A person is disabled in terms of the Disability Discrimination Act if theysuffer from, “a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial andlong-term adverse affect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-dayactivities”. Assume that Helen’s condition is’substantial and long-term’ and the questionbecomes one of whether or not it is having an effect on her ability to carryout normal day-to-day activities, a question that has been the subject ofrecent case law. In the case of Ekpe v The Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis, 2001,IRLR 605, the EAT highlighted that in dealing with the question the focusshould be on what a person cannot do because of their disability, rather thanwhat they can do. In that particular case, which concerned a female employee, the originaltribunal decided that putting in hair rollers and applying make-up were notnormal day-to-day activities. That decision was overturned by the EAT whichsaid the question that should be addressed is whether the activity can beconsidered abnormal or unusual. They observed that the Guidance to theDisability Discrimination Act states that an activity is not normal if it isonly carried out by a particular person or group of people, and stresses thatjust because the activity is mostly done by one gender, does not mean it is notnormal. In Helen’s case, it would appear that doing household chores would be viewedas a normal day-to-day activity; but not potholing. The significance of how well Helen is able to carry out normal day-to-dayactivities at work, such as lifting computer equipment, was addressed by theCourt of Session in the case of Law Hospital NHS Trust v Rush, 2001, IRLR 611,when it was stated, again with reference to the guidance to the DDA, that workduties were not day-to-day activities. But where work duties include someelement of day-to-day activities, such as lifting objects, this informationcould be relevant to the credibility of an employee who is claiming he or shecannot carry out a particular activity. Therefore, Mike’s observation that Helen was able to move computer equipmentwould not be relevant to the definition of disability, but could be relevant towhether she is telling the truth or exaggerating about her lack of ability tocarry out household chores. Substantial disadvantages The following month, disciplinary proceedings were instigated against Helenafter allegations that she made racist remarks to a fellow employee who is froman ethnic minority. Under the company’s disciplinary procedure, Helen is suspended and adisciplinary hearing is held. A solicitor’s letter arrives saying Helen feelsdiscriminated against because, in view of her learning difficulties, she didnot understand the letter she received explaining the disciplinary procedure toher, she was intimidated and felt unable to express herself fully because ofthe formal nature of the hearing, and because she was not permitted to bringalong a friend in place of a work colleague. Mike, however, recalls that along-standing and trusted colleague of Helen’s explained the contents of theletter and accompanied her to the hearing at which it was observed that Helenhad been very articulate in her own defence. Section 6 of the Disability Discrimination Act provides that, where anemployer’s working arrangements or premises place a disabled person at asubstantial disadvantage, then a duty to make reasonable adjustments arises toavoid the disadvantageous effect. Failure to make such reasonable adjustmentsis discriminatory, unless it can be justified by a reason which is bothmaterial to the circumstances of the case and is substantial. Therefore, theduty to make reasonable adjustments only arises where an employee is placed ata substantial disadvantage. A similar situation arose in the case of Cave v Goodwin & Another, 2001,EWCA Civ391. In that case the applicant was a care assistant in a residentialcare home and had epilepsy and learning difficulties. Allegations of sexualmisconduct were made against the applicant and the employer initiateddisciplinary proceedings, similar to those used by Helen’s employer. Theapplicant received a letter informing him he was suspended and that there wasto be a disciplinary hearing. The applicant did not receive any oralexplanation of the charge and the process from his employer, which also refusedhis request to be accompanied by a friend (not a work colleague) at thedisciplinary hearing. The question the tribunal first considered was whether or not the applicanthad been put at a substantial disadvantage by this alleged discrimination.Although he had received notice of the suspension and the disciplinary hearingby letter, it was found he had been able to read most of the letter himself,and the entire contents of the letter were explained to him by his colleagues.He had had an understanding of the disciplinary hearing and was able to expresshimself at the hearing. The tribunal therefore found the applicant suffered no substantialdisadvantage as a result of the alleged discrimination, and therefore the dutyto make reasonable adjustments did not arise. In Helen’s case, the employer may have done better to modify thedisciplinary procedure by explaining the suspension and the arrangements forthe disciplinary hearing orally, as well as in letter form and allowing her tobe accompanied by a friend at the hearing, rather than a fellow employee (theguidance to the DDA recommends that a person with learning difficulties beaccompanied by a friend at such a hearing). They might also have considered making the hearing itself less formal withregular breaks for Helen to consult with the friend who accompanied her. The employer could argue, however, that the duty to make reasonableadjustments did not arise, as she did not suffer a substantial disadvantage. They could point out that the disciplinary letter was fully explained toHelen by a trusted colleague, it was this colleague who accompanied her to thedisciplinary hearing, and the procedure did not seem to prevent Helen fromexpressing her point of view. Reasonable adjustments Subsequently, Helen’s condition deteriorates and she goes on long-termsickness absence. Following the company’s long-term sickness absence procedure,a report is obtained from the company’s occupational health department. Thisreport indicates that it is unlikely that Helen will ever be able to return towork and she is dismissed on the grounds of ill health. Helen claimed disability discrimination, claiming reasonable adjustments hadnot been given serious consideration by the company. As stated above, section 6 of the DDA requires that reasonable adjustmentsbe made when a disabled person suffers a substantial disadvantage, unless thefailure to do so can be justified. The importance of proper consideration of adjustments which can be made, tothe question of whether or not it was reasonable to make them, and whether ornot failure to do so can be justified, was emphasised in the case of Fu vLondon Borough of Camden, 2001, IRLR 186. In that case, the applicant hadsuffered from two accidents at work. She proposed a number of adjustments bemade to her working conditions, including a voice-activated computer, ahands-free phone, an adapted chair and easy access shelving. The employer did obtain a report from occupational health and the OHassessor’s position was that they could not indicate when the applicant wasgoing to be able to return to work. The applicant was therefore given a choiceof ill health retirement or dismissal. This case went to the EAT, which observed that as dismissal itself is not anact of discrimination under the Act, the only matter they were required toconsider was whether reasonable adjustments should have been made. The EAT considered that the employer had discriminated against the applicantbecause they had failed to consider the extent to which the proposedadjustments could have allowed her to return to work. When an employer is faced with the prospect of considering adjustments, thepossible adjustments should be discussed with both the employee and the medicaladviser. The focus should be whether the adjustments will make a real difference –will they lead to the disabled person suffering no substantial disadvantage byreason of their disability, compared to a non-disabled employee? Investigationsshould then be conducted as to the effect of these possible adjustments on boththe employee and the workplace, with a view to establishing whether they canreasonably be made. Where appropriate, the employer ought also to consider implementingadjustments for a trial period as an alternative to dismissal. Paul D McMahon is a solicitor with Harper McLeod Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Devil in the detailOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Todaylast_img read more

Strontium isotope stratigraphy for CRP-3, Victoria Land Basin, Antarctica

first_imgStrontium isotope stratigraphy was used to date 5 discrete horizons within the CRP-3 drillhole. A single in situ modiolid bivalve fragment at 10.88 mbsf gives an age of 30.9 (±0.8) Ma for the associated sediment. The fourremaining well preserved fragments recovered from 29.94-190.31 mbsf are within error of this age, indicating a high sedimentation rate and suggesting little time ismissing in disconformities. The diagenetic alteration of carbonate macrofossils by continental fluids (and possibly seawater) is a common feature to 320 mbsf.last_img read more

Spatiotemporal interpolation of elevation changes derived from satellite altimetry for Jakobshavn Isbræ, Greenland

first_imgEstimation of ice sheet mass balance from satellite altimetry requires interpolation of point-scale elevation change (dH/dt) data over the area of interest. The largest dH/dt values occur over narrow, fast-flowing outlet glaciers, where data coverage of current satellite altimetry is poorest. In those areas, straightforward interpolation of data is unlikely to reflect the true patterns of dH/dt. Here, four interpolation methods are compared and evaluated over Jakobshavn Isbræ, an outlet glacier for which widespread airborne validation data are available from NASA’s Airborne Topographic Mapper (ATM). The four methods are ordinary kriging (OK), kriging with external drift (KED), where the spatial pattern of surface velocity is used as a proxy for that of dH/dt, and their spatiotemporal equivalents (ST-OK and ST-KED). KED assumes a linear relationship between spatial gradients of velocity and dH/dt, which is confirmed for both negative (Pearson’s correlation ρ < −0.85) and, to a lesser degree, positive (ρ = 0.73) dH/dt values. When compared to ATM data, KED and ST-KED yield more realistic spatial patterns and higher thinning rates (over 20 m yr−1 as opposed to 7 m yr−1 for OK). Spatiotemporal kriging smooths inter-annual variability and improves interpolation in periods with sparse data coverage and we conclude, therefore, that ST-KED produces the best results. Using this method increases volume loss estimates from Jakobshavn Isbræ by up to 20% compared to those obtained by OK. The proposed interpolation method will improve ice sheet mass balance reconstructions from existing and past satellite altimeter data sets, with generally poor sampling of outlet glaciers.last_img read more

To Move Now launches Part Exchange alternative

To Move Now has created a portal to connect housebuilders whose purchasers have properties to sell with a panel of corporate property buyers.Members of the panel bid to buy the second-hand properties directly, so the developer can sell its new homes without being exposed to chains or taking on part exchange stock.To Move Now Director, Chris Taylor co-founded the business. He said, “Part exchange is a tried and trusted system, but it does not fit every scenario.To Move Now provides a cash buyer and a fast sale where part exchange isn’t appropriate. For example, Help to Buy can be used in conjunction with our service, whereas Government rules prevent the scheme from being used with part exchange.“Our service works for people moving up, down or sideways and operates throughout mainland UK, so is not restricted by geography.”To Move Now is the sister company to Developer Solutions Ltd, one of the country’s leading providers of land appraisals, viability assessments and market analysis. Its CEO, Chris Gregory, said, “Developer Solutions provides data, analysis and insight to solve developers’ problems in areas ranging from land valuations and local area appraisals to finance and mortgage availability.“To Move Now is an extension of the Developer Solutions ethos. Through our discussions with developers across the country we identified a need for a service which could accelerate sales.”part exchange housebuilders portal for housebuilders new build homes To Move Now September 10, 2018The NegotiatorWhat’s your opinion? Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment.Please note: This is a site for professional discussion. Comments will carry your full name and company.This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.Related articles BREAKING: Evictions paperwork must now include ‘breathing space’ scheme details30th April 2021 City dwellers most satisfied with where they live30th April 2021 Hong Kong remains most expensive city to rent with London in 4th place30th April 2021 Home » News » Land & New Homes » To Move Now launches Part Exchange alternative previous nextLand & New HomesTo Move Now launches Part Exchange alternativeA new alternative to Part Exchange has been launched to help housebuilders sell new-build homes more quickly.The Negotiator10th September 201801,149 Views read more

Sit down, stay a while

first_imgCall it ambush art, sort of.A seemingly spontaneous ensemble swirled, serenaded, stood on, and sat in the objects of their desire outside Dudley House on Tuesday (Sept 7) afternoon as a bemused group of onlookers occasionally joined in.But the love fest for the colorful plastic furniture was a planned performance of “Chairs — the Musical,” designed to promote the social space.The production was the first in what has become a fall happening in connection with the Common Spaces Chairs Project, an initiative launched last year to promote gathering spaces around the campus with the addition of tables and chairs, food, and live performances.Members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Dramatic Club (HRDC), the a.r.t. Instigators, and the Freshman Arts Program, not to mention a member of the Harvard faculty, took part in the first performance in the ongoing fall performance festival titled “The Chairs Revue.”In the brief skit a nonbelieving student questioned the importance of the chairs, while others sang their praises, literally, at one point encouraging the audience to sing along.“One chair for my behind, find, one chair,” sang a plaintive Harvard Divinity School professor, David Lamberth, to a light green seat using a tune from the Broadway hit musical “Rent.”“It was fun, the people working with it were great,” said Lamberth of the chance to be involved in the show. But the professor of philosophy and theology also sang from the heart, admitting that he truly does love the new chairs and the atmosphere they inspire.“It’s really super. I think it’s added an interesting dimension to the way the Yard feels and the way people relax and use spaces differently.”During September and October, members of the Harvard community can enjoy the regular performances every Tuesday and Friday from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. either in the area in front of Dudley House or in front of the Science Center. Upcoming presentations include an outtake from the American Repertory Theater’s (A.R.T.) production of “Alice vs. Wonderland,” a “psychedelic update” of the classic tale, as well as interactive and modern dance performances.“I’ve never done a show like this,” said senior Lester Kim, a physics concentrator from Eliot House who has been in a number of HRDC productions during his time at Harvard. “You get the audience within the stage.”Formed in spring 2008, the Committee on Common Spaces worked closely with the University Planning Office to enhance the ways the Harvard community can experience the Cambridge campus. A series of surveys, focus groups, and interviews revealed a desire for better areas on campus for informal gatherings, places where Harvard students, faculty, and staff could unite to share both the environment and experiences.The performances encourage people to use the Yard in a different way, said Allegra Libonati, artistic associate at the A.R.T. who helped develop the “Chairs” production.“It’s about sharing, and communing, and sharing ideas.”last_img read more

Nine Pre-Inca Burials Found in Lima Neighborhood

first_imgBy Dialogo July 23, 2009 Lima, 22 July (EFE).- Peruvian archeologists have found nine burials in a “huaca,” a pyramidal pre-Inca construction, in the Lima neighborhood of Magdalena del Mar, the discoverers announced today. “There are nine individuals, one extended and the rest in fetal position,” EFE was told by archeologist Roberto Quispe, who specified that the bodies, discovered last week in the Huantille huaca, were covered with up to three layers of cloth. In addition, a number of ceramic vessels and gourd cups or bowls were found together with the individuals buried in fetal position. Although more extensive analysis still needs to be done to determine their origin, the bodies are presumed to belong to the Ishma culture, which flourished in the Late Intermediate Period (between 1000 and 1400 CE) on the central Peruvian coast and was centered in the locality of Pachacamac, about forty kilometers south of Lima. According to Quispe, the individual in extended position would have been buried during the last years that the Huantille huaca was in use. Since excavations began in Huantille, a score of bodies, forty vessels, and around fifteen spindles have been discovered, among other pre-Inca objects. The Huantille huaca has been recovered from a state of abandonment, at the initiative of the Magdalena del Mar local government and with the support of the National Institute of Culture. Until 2007 Huantille lay forgotten under tons of debris and garbage, in addition to having been invaded by drug addicts and even a brick factory.last_img read more

Basel pension fund to move into private equity, senior secured loans

first_imgPensionskasse Basel-Stadt (PKBS), the CHF11.2bn (€10.3bn) pension fund public employees of the Swiss city of Basel, is to invest in private equity and senior secured loans, one of two moves it weighed as part of a search for yield in the prevailing low interest rate environment.The decision was taken by the pension fund’s board of directors at the end of May, and was effective 1 July.It allows the Pensionskasse to invest up to 3% of its assets in each of the asset classes, which the pension fund said will enable it to raise its return expectations across its total portfolio without having to take on “excessive” risks.The pension fund also considered making changes to its asset allocation without venturing into new asset classes, which would mainly have involved increasing the equity component of its investments. It decided that expanding its investment universe was the better option, in particular from a risk and risk diversification perspective.Private equity and senior secured loans emerged as appropriate additions to the Pensionskasse’s asset allocation, it said.PKBS returned 1.19% in 2015, acknowledging that this fell far short of its target return of 4.6% for that year. Its target return since 1 January 2016 was reduced to 3.6%.In the first half of this year, the pension fund has achieved a performance of 1.56% on its investments.As at the end of 2015, some 31% of its assets were invested in equities, followed by nearly 25% in bonds and real estate.It also invests in mortgages, loans, and commodities, and the short-term money market.last_img read more

Skyline Chili Bashed By Food Report

first_imgCourtesy: Skyline ChiliWhat are your thoughts on Skyline Chili? Personally, I am a fan! However, one reviewer has a different outlook on the Tri-State food favorite.A Deadspin.com report ranked the best and worst regional foods in America, and the writer  named Skyline Chili as the nations worst.According to author, Albert Burneko, the coneys that we all enjoy are worse than getting hit by a car. Fortunately, the article isn’t based on any factual data.Burneko wrote, “Cincinnati chili is the worst, saddest, most depressing *explicative* thing in the world.”Skyline was able respond to the humorous allegations.“After 64 years, we feel fortunate to be able to serve up coneys and ways to our loyal customers and we look forward to doing that for many years to come,” Sarah Sicking, director of marketing for Skyline Chili, said in a statement.WRBI wants to know what your thoughts. Tell us on our Facebook page and you can win a coupon to Skyline Chili!last_img read more

Job Fair Slated For Next Tuesday

first_imgIvy Tech will hold a job fair at the Madison campus on Tuesday, April 22.Veterans are invited from 1:00 until 2:00 p.m. and the general public is invited from 2:00 until 5:00.It is an opportunity to discuss qualifications and share your resume with representatives from more than 15 companies. Dress to impress, bring your resume, and be prepared for filling out applications and for on-site interviews.For more information, call Rachel Cooper at 812-537-4010, extension 5303.last_img