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Exclusive: Jewson responds to disability tribunal claim

Builders merchant Jewson has spoken exclusively to buildersmerchantsjournal.net following a ruling by an employment tribunal that company had breached disability discrimination rules.

Former branch manager Jonathan Jones is claiming more than £1m for loss of earnings – including pension contributions – and injury to feelings.

A spokesperson for Jewson told buildersmerchantsjournal.net: “Jewson believes firmly that everyone should be treated with fairness at work. We are governed by strong principles designed to ensure that employees and workers, potential employees and customers will not receive less favourable treatment or consideration on the grounds of disability, race, religious belief, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age or marital status.

“We employ a significant number of people with health issues and disabilities and we have helped numerous employees, many of whom who have faced life changing health problems, return to work successfully.

“This has been achieved through close cooperation between the Company, the employee, medical advisors and external supporting agencies. Our aim is to explore all possible options available in often difficult and sensitive circumstances in order to assist the employee back to work.

“In the case of Jonathan Jones, we are obviously extremely disappointed that we fell far short of the high standards that we set ourselves in this area. We have made every effort to address this situation and have subsequently offered Mr Jones an alternative position within Jewson but, regrettably, he has rejected this.

“We are focused on ensuring that the shortcomings identified in this case are not repeated and that it is seen as an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to treating our employees with fairness, dignity and respect at all times.”

Jones, 57, branch manager for Jewson in Cardigan, West Wales, had been employed by Jewson for 22 years when he suffered a stroke on April 25 2009.

After 5 months sick leave, Jewson dismissed Jones believing he would be unable to return to work.

The employment tribunal in Cardiff has accepted Jones’ solicitor’s arguments that Jewson discriminated against Jones by dismissing him at that point.

Jones’ solicitor, Stephen Jackson said: “After 22 years’ service, working more than 60 hours a week and taking hardly any holidays, Mr Jones’ was treated appallingly by Jewson which ignored its own procedures when Mr Jones’ was most in need of help. The award will reflect his injury and his financial losses, no more.”

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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