Craft beer giants Brewdog have been forced to payout £12,000 to a former worker after they sacked him because he was about to be declared blind.
Former employee James Ross, who has Stargardt disease, experienced a deterioration of his eyesight over the course of his employment at the company’s Aberdeen site, and informed the company of his condition, after which he was rated as a high-risk member of staff by the company’s health and safety manager and, despite receiving advice from sight loss charity RNIB on adjustments that could be made to help, the company later decided to terminate his employment.
Mr Ross, from Fraserburgh, has now won his case for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination at an employment tribunal.
Speaking to the Herald, he said: “The way they dealt with my condition was really poor for a company of their size. The management just didn’t seem to have a clue how to deal with it, they just wanted to end it.
“They weren’t interested in making any changes, they just wanted me out.
Judge Nick Hosie said the company should “feel more than discomfort at the lack of awareness evidenced of their legal obligations to consider reasonable adjustments for an employee they recognised as disabled”.
In a statement a Brewdog spokesperson said: “This was a really difficult situation for every member of our team involved in it, and clearly for the tribunal panel too as their decision on the outcome was split.
“We worked with James in order to find a suitable alternative role within the business where his safety would not be compromised, but James wanted to keep his packaging role.
“We ended up in a position where we had to balance James’ wishes with the best interests of the team around him, and while we regret that an agreement couldn’t be reached, we have a moral responsibility to prioritise the safety of our team.”