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Shipyard worker with occupational arthritis wins discrimination case
A woman sacked after developing a disability at work has won her case for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.
Louise Brooks, 31, was dismissed by her employer, ship repair company
A&P Falmouth, four years after being diagnosed with an arthritic
Brooks’ job involved dismantling and reassembling dockyard equipment,
which was repetitive work and required high levels of dexterity and
strength in her wrists.
She had started work in the shipyard when she was 16 but had to stop
working at the age of 27 after complaining of pains in her arms. She
was diagnosed with an arthritic disability and went on sick leave in
For the next four years, Brook says she was only contacted
approximately once a year by A&P. The company never discussed
alternative work with her until she was offered a job as a typist,
which was unsuitable given the nature of her disability. Company
documents, however, show that during this time there were around 15
other jobs available at different times over the four years which would
have been suitable.
She was then dismissed in 2006, after spending the
greater part of the four years unpaid. Brooks won her case at the
Employment Tribunal after successfully arguing that A&P
discriminated against her by not making reasonable adjustments or
offering alternative work. The Tribunal criticised A&P for adopting
an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach to Brooks after she went on
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