An employment solicitor is suing the Government Legal Department, claiming he was made to attend a team building exercise that might harm his health.
Farrukh Hussain has brought a complaint of direct disability discrimination contending he was required to attend the away day at a city farm despite his concerns it would exacerbate his asthma.
Hussain, who worked for the GLD for around four months last year, also claims he was required to accept all cases he was being offered and told twice to ‘shush’ by his line manager when he raised a grievance.
The Government Legal Department said the claims are vexatiously brought, with no reasonable grounds of success.
Details of the claim were revealed following an open preliminary hearing last month at the Central London Employment Tribunal.
As well as disability discrimination, Hussain alleges harassment, failure to make reasonable adjustments, victimisation, failure to pay holiday pay and less favourable treatment of an agency worker.
He had worked at the GLD as a solicitor engaged with an umbrella company, Parasol Limited, which itself had a contract with the agency which supplied him, Netforte Limited. The charge rate for this arrangement was £237.98 a day.
Hussain said he had emailed his manager saying he was looking forward to the farm visit but that contact with animals would worsen his asthma. He alleges the manager showed a ‘blatant disregard’ to his health and wellbeing and stated that as the venue was outside he should be fine.
Hussain also claims he was discriminated against on account of an alleged refusal of his request to work from home one or two days a week.
The GLD said it requested the agency terminate Hussain’s assignment in April after it discovered he had breached data protection policies by forwarding work-related emails to his private account. It was stated that despite support and help from senior colleagues, Hussain’s performance did not improve and managers did not feel confident in his ability to manage employment litigation.
It was further stated that Hussain had told two GLD employees he was ‘going to do [it] for disability discrimination’ and that he decided to bring the claim before even starting work there.
Employment Judge Brown ruled Hussain was supplied to the GLD as an agency worker and his contract was with the umbrella company. The judge said the remaining claims were for discrimination which were disputes of facts between parties. It was impossible to say, at this stage of proceedings, that the claims had no reasonable prospect of success, so the application to strike out was dismissed.