Failure To Accommodate Costs Council Thousands
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
April 27, 2006
NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND--It was an expensive mistake -- one that Gaynor Meikle says easily could have been avoided.
The Nottingham County Council paid £196,000 ($360,000 US) in compensation Wednesday to the former secondary school science teacher who left her job after her employer failed to accommodate her disability.
According to a press release from the Disability Rights Commission, Meikle was working at Nottingham's Gedling School in 1993 when she started having trouble seeing. She then asked her employer to provide her with teaching materials in larger print.
She quit her job six years later, after the school failed to accommodate her needs. She then took legal action, claiming she had been constructively dismissed, or basically forced to quit.
In July 2004, the Court of Appeal ordered the council to compensate Meikle her for her full pay.
"I hope that both the legal judgment and the extent of damages I've received will mean that disabled people do not have to face this kind of blatant discrimination in the future," she said in the DRC statement. "However, I'm very sad at the way Nottingham County Council has responded to the judgment by not apologizing and not making clear this won't happen to other employees."
Chris Benson, the DRC's Senior Legal Officer, said: "I hope Mrs. Meikle's damages will send a warning shot to employers that it can be extremely costly to break the law."
"All her employer needed to do was enlarge the font size of her teaching materials so that Mrs. Meikle could read them. Not doing so has meant losing a valuable member of staff and a lengthy and costly legal process."
Disability Rights Commission