first_img Comments are closed. This week’s case round-upEmployers need to offer a helping hand Walton v Airtours plc and another, C/A, 5 November 2002 In a week where the Department for Work and Pensions announced retentionstatistics for employees becoming sick or disabled at work, this casehighlights once again that employers cannot entirely devolve themselves ofresponsibility in this area. Walton was employed by Airtours as an airline pilot, but he became unable towork due to chronic fatigue syndrome. His terms and conditions of employmentreflected the provisions of the company’s permanent health insurance (PHI)policy, which stated that PHI benefits would only continue after 24 months ifthe employee was unable to ‘follow any occupation’. Walton received PHI benefits for 24 months. At the end of this period, amedical report was obtained which indicated that he was not unfit for any typeof work, and could cope both physically and mentally with less demanding jobsif he was offered appropriate support and rehabilitation by the company.Benefit payments ceased accordingly, and Walton’s employment was terminated. As a result, however, Walton issued High Court proceedings against Airtours,alleging that it had wrongly terminated his employment and entitlement tobenefits under the PHI policy. The court found that since Walton was fit to undertake light sedentary work,provided he received rehabilitation and support from Airtours, the company’sfailure to do so meant he was prevented from following an occupation – forexample, in accordance with the scheme rules. He therefore remained entitled tobenefits under the PHI policy until such time as appropriate support andrehabilitation were made available to him. Unreasonable does not necessarily mean inadmissable Jones v University of Warwick, CA, 4 February 2003 With the new laws governing workplace monitoring, it is difficult to knowwhat is permissible and what is not. The courts also struggle to balance theneed to hear all the evidence while not condoning intrusion into employees’private lives. Jones brought proceedings against the university, claiming continuingdisability from a personal injury. The university disputed that her disabilitywas continuing, and its insurers hired a private investigator who secretlyfilmed her at home. Jones contended the evidence was inadmissible, relying onthe court’s discretion under CPR 32.1(2) and Article 8(1) of the EuropeanConvention on Human Rights – right to respect for private life. While clearly uncomfortable with the insurers conduct, the Court of Appealdecided the video was admissible evidence. It acknowledged the difficulty inreconciling the benefit to the court of having all the evidence available andthe improper way in which it had been obtained. But it concluded that it wouldbe both artificial and undesirable for relevant and admissible evidence not tobe placed before the judge trying the case. In reflecting its disapproval of such conduct, however, the court made anorder of costs against the university, on the basis that it was the conduct ofthe university’s insurers that had given rise to litigation over theadmissibility of the evidence. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos. Case roundupOn 25 Feb 2003 in Personnel Todaylast_img