Man loses disability discrimination case against BT

A FORMER highly paid business improvement official who was dismissed by British Telecom after suffering from depression, anxiety and stress has lost a legal claim for disability discrimination.

But Kieron O’Toole of Defford Close, Webheath, Redditch, was told by Birmingham Employment Tribunal judge Christopher Gaskell that he could go ahead with his legal claim for unfair dismissal against his former employers.

Mr O’Toole accused British Telecom Plc of failing to make adjustments at work to help him cope with his disability.

He had been employed for 14 years and was said to have been highly regarded until he became ill.

He said the stress, depression and anxiety caused him to lose sleep and affected his memory.

He also complained he suffered from low esteem and that it took him much longer than normal to write emails.

The tribunal was told that Mr O’Toole suffered from three bouts of depression, stress and anxiety, had been off work, and had been prescribed treatment by his GP.

But Mr O’Toole said he had always wanted to return to work and had been planning to do so when he was unfairly dismissed.

British Telecom opposed Mr O’Toole’s disability discrimination claim and questioned whether his condition was an impairment serious enough to affect his day-to-day activities.

Mr O’Toole had been dismissed on capability grounds following his time off work, it was said.

Mr Gaskell said it appeared Mr O’Toole had been suffering from an “adjustment disorder” and that he had been unwell on a recurring basis.

“There is no evidence, however, to suggest that the impairment affected his day-to-day activities and the tribunal decision is that Mr O’Toole’s disability discrimination claim is rejected,” said Mr Gaskell.

He said he admired the way Mr O’Toole had “battled on” in the circumstances and told him that he could still go ahead with his legal claim for unfair dismissal.

That case had been listed for later this year.

Mr O’Toole said after the hearing that he was now looking for another business job.

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