An employee at a biscuit factory who threatened a colleague while in a diabetic rage has won his claim of unfair dismissal.
Jennifer Cafferky Employment Law Solicitor, reports on this recent case.
Mr Dytkowski began working for Brand FB’s biscuit factory in 2009.
He was diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes in March 2018, which he described as a “difficult diagnosis to accept and manage”.
Occupational Health staff helped Dytkowski adapt by making adjustments for him including short breaks to check his blood sugar, regular eating times and time off to attend appointments.
A series of incidents followed in which Dytkowski displayed aggressive behaviour and language culminating in an altercation where he grabbed and pushed a colleague and shouted in Polish, “say that to me again and I’ll smash your ****ing face. Now get out of my ****ing face”.
The incident resulted in Dytkowski being suspended and a disciplinary process was put in place.
Throughout, Dytkowski admitted his behaviour had been unacceptable but said it was due to his struggle to control his blood sugar level fluctuations caused by his diabetes, which had also reduced his pancreas efficiency.
Production manager Mr Bourne said that he “didn’t think the diabetes had an influence on the incident” and dismissed Dytkowski for gross misconduct.
The Employment Tribunal upheld Dytkowski’s claims of unfair dismissal and discrimination.
Employment Judge Joanne Dunlop said Dytkowski had been “an entirely honest witness” and that his medical struggles with his diabetes was “not something that can be lightly disregarded”.
She added that a final written warning would have been a more proportionate response and that there had been “no focus on whether any risk of recurrence could be reduced or managed”.
Dytkowski’s compensation was reduced by 30 per cent to account for his behaviour.
Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law.
Creditors taking court action could spark surge in insolvencies
A rise in the number of creditors taking court action to recover debts has led to fears of a surge in insolvencies in the New Year.
There were 21,764 County Court Judgments lodged against companies in the three months to the end of September – a rise of 51% on the previous quarter.
Between July and September, 155 companies went into administration or receivership, up 26% on the previous quarter. The construction and energy sectors were the worst hit.
Restructuring firm Begbies Traynor said the figures suggested there could be a sharp rise in insolvencies early next year.
Ric Traynor, executive chairman of Begbies Traynor, said: “We’re concerned that trading conditions will deteriorate for many companies as supply chain issues affect output and input costs continue their upward trajectory.”
Traynor added that many directors of small and medium-sized companies were concerned about their ability to pay back government bounce back loans, which could put extra pressure on businesses already struggling from the effects of the Covid pandemic, Brexit and labour shortages.
Meanwhile, the Times reports that businesses fear HM Revenue & Customs is “taking an increasingly aggressive line in chasing debts, particularly those who have defaulted on time-to-pay arrangements”.
This too could add to the pressure and possibly push some struggling companies over the edge.
Businesses are advised to keep a tight rein on credit control and to be prepared to take early action to recover unpaid invoices. Delay could make it harder to ensure payment from companies that slide further and further into debt, and in some cases, cease trading.
If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law please contact Jennifer on 01228 516666.