Disability discrimination: non-payment of bonuses

Following a case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), employers with bonus schemes that are linked to attendance should ensure that there is sufficient flexibility within the schemes to avoid withholding payment in circumstances where it is likely to be discriminatory. The EAT upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that an employer discriminated against disabled employees by operating a bonus scheme, which did not pay out to employees who had received a warning for high levels of sickness absence.

The employer had reasonable adjustments in place to delay the issuing of a warning to an employee who was absent due to a disability. However, the fact that receiving a warning led to an automatic disqualification from the bonus scheme was discrimination arising from disability.