A recent court case has highlight how important it is to be clear in employment contracts. In the case of ICTS Limited v Visram an employer was contractually obliged to provide an employee with long-term disability benefits until his "return to work".

Mr Visram went on sick leave with work-related stress and depression and was dismissed for incapacity. As a result of his dismissal Mr Visram complained that he had lost his contractual disability benefits and issue a claim in the tribunal of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

ICTS Ltd argued that the entitlement would cease once he was capable of taking up some kind of paid employment.

Decision

The EAT disagreed. Assessing the remedy, the tribunal held that "return to work" meant return to the work from which he had gone sick. There was no prospect of the Claimant ever being able to do that, so he was entitled to be compensated for loss of benefits until death or retirement.

Comment

This will be an uncommon occurrence, but where employers provide contractual benefits care should be taken to ensure that these are reviewed, and any definitions and wordings are carefully constructed to avoid any unintentional consequences. Concerned employers should consider reviewing any such benefits. Should you find yourself in this situation you have access to the RMIF legal helpline for telephone advice.

Motor Industry Legal Services

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