An employer’s looks policy leads to a £9,000 payout

September 25, 2009

A student has won a £9,000 payout from Abercrombie & Fitch. This is as a result of unlawful harassment by the company who failed to comply with employment law. Miss Dean has a prosthetic arm, her claim was that she was forced to work in the stock room of the London store after she had been granted permission to wear long sleeves to cover her arm. She was told that this breached company policy as laid out in the company handbook. She worked for five shifts before resigning at the beginning of July 2009.

Miss Dean sought damages under the Disability Discrimination Act at an employment tribunal. Miss Dean sought damages for disability discrimination at an employment tribunal in central London. Although the tribunal ruled that she was wrongfully dismissed and unlawfully harassed for a reason that related to her disability, it did not uphold her claim for disability discrimination. It also said that the store failed to comply with its duty to make reasonable adjustments.

The ruling stated: ‘The tribunal is satisfied the reason for the claimant’s dismissal was her breach of the look policy in wearing a cardigan. Whilst the tribunal is satisfied the claimant’s dismissal was a consequence of her unlawful harassment, it cannot be characterised direct disability discrimination.’