Mr MJ Taplin v Freeths LLP: 2602284/2018

CourtEmployment Tribunal
Judgment Date07 April 2021
Citation2602284/2018
Published date27 April 2021
Case No: V 2602284/2018
Page 1 of 187
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS
Claimant: Mr. M.J Taplin
Respondent: Freeths LLP
Heard at: Nottingham
On: 16 November to 8 December 2020
Before: Employment Judge Broughton sitting with non-legal
Members: Mrs Hatcliff and Mr Alibhai
Representatives
Claimant: Counsel Mr Gilroy QC
Respondent: Counsel Mr Epstein QC
RESERVED JUDGMENT
The Judgement of the Tribunal is as follows;
1. The claim of indirect discrimination pursuant to section 19 of the Equality Act 2010
is dismissed on withdrawal.
2. The claims of disability discrimination pursuant to sections 13, 15, 20/21 and 45 of
the Equality Act 2010 are in part well founded and succeed.
3. The claim for accrued annual leave pursuant to regulation 13 and 30 of the Working
Time Regulations 1996 is well founded in respect of the portion of leave entitlement
which relates to the period prior to the Claimant becoming a Member of the LLP in
2004 only, the rest of the claim is dismissed.
4. The claim for accrued additional annual leave under regulation 13A and 30 of The
Working Time Regulations 1996 is not well founded and is dismissed.
5. The case will be listed for a hearing to determine remedy.
WRITTEN REASONS
Background
Case No: V 2602284/2018
Page 2 of 187
6. The Claimant joined the Respondent, a Limited Liability Partnership in 1999 as a Salaried
Partner. Following a period as an Equity Partner from 2004, he became Managing Partner
of the Derby office in 2008. The Claimant served notice of his retirement from the
Respondent in accordance with the Membership Agreement on 7 September 2018. He
was required to give 12 months’ notice. He did not work during the 12-month notice
period. The Claimant presented his claim to the Tribunal on 1 October 2018 after a period
of Acas early conciliation from 10 September 2018 to 1 October 2018.
Agreed Issues
7. The issues which we discussed at length and agreed during the hearing are as
follows;
Disability
It is agreed that from 11/16 the Claimant had a disability by reason of adjustment disorder
with mixed anxiety and depressed mood and that from 11/16 the Respondent (“R”) was
aware of that disability.
Requirement to work as a solicitor [PCP1]
C complains that, in breach of duty contrary to s.20 EqA, from 11/16 to 7/9/18 R applied to
him a provisi on, criterion or practice (“PCP”) that he works as a solicitor, that by reason of
his disability this put him at the substantial disadvantage of being less able to manage his
own workload and he was more affected by the workload and stresses and strains of his
duties, and it failed to make reasonable adjustments.
In the pleadings this PCP has been called PCP1.
The PCP is pleaded in §22(a)(a) ET1 [60], FBP [74].
C’s suggested adjustments are contained in §24 ET1 [62].
The suggested adjustments, as clarified by the FBP at [75-76], using the lettering in §24 ET1,
are that R (a) ought to have put in place a written work plan, and/or (b) ought to have put in
place a written wellness and recovery action plan (“WRAP”), and/or (c) appointed a mentor,
and/or (d) intervened to provide more intensive support when C was having difficulties,
and/or (j) adjusted the standard of performance expected, and/or (k) removed access to
emails outside office hours and/or replaced Jamie Cooper and Laura Sephton who worked
100% for C.
R admits this PCP and that it put C at this disadvantage but denies it failed to make
reasonable adjustments.
The FBP identifies the date when C was put to this substantial disadvantage and the
dates when the adjustment ought to have been made from; late 2015/early 2016 to the
date he resigned
The issue is, did R fail to make reasonable adjustments?
R’s case at §70 ET3 [94] is that it took extensive steps to assist C, such as persuading him
to reduce his workload, relinquish management of the Derby office, take time off, delegate
work, focus on business development, it guaranteed his profit share, it put in place phased
returns to work and offered psychological support through Dr Laher and provided pastoral
and work support from a number of other individuals.
Case No: V 2602284/2018
Page 3 of 187
R response to C’s suggested adjustments is in §71 ET3 [95-97].
For the avoidance of doubt in relation to all of the reasonable adjustment claims made in
these proceedings, whereas the suggested adjustments have been summarised, C relies on
the detail set out in his pleaded case.
Requirement to work as head of /managing Partner of the Derby office [PCP 2]
C complains that, in breach of duty contrary to s.20 EqA, from 11/16 R applied to him a PCP
that he works as managing Partner of the Derby office, that by reason of his disability this
put him at the substantial disadvantage of being less able to manage his own workload and
he was more affected by the workload and stresses and strains of his duties, and it failed to
make reasonable adjustments.
In the pleadings this PCP has been called PCP2.
The PCP is pleaded in §22(a)(b) ET1 [60], FBP [74].
C’s suggested adjustments are pleaded in §24 ET1 [62] and are repeated in the FBP.
As with PCP1 above, the FBP limit the suggested adjustments to the same as those for
PCP1.
R admits this PCP and that it put C at this disadvantage but denies it failed to make
reasonable adjustments.
The issue is, did R fail to make reasonable adjustments?
So far as C relies on the sub-paragraphs of §24 ET1 identified above, R’s case is the same
as above.
C’s position is that PCP2 applied until 29/9/17.
Requirement to bill as many hours as possible [PCP 3]
C complains that, in breach of duty contrary to s.20 EqA, from 11/16 to 7/9/18 R applied to
him a PCP that he bill as many hours as possible, that by reason of his disability this put him
at the substantial disadvantage of being less able to manage his own workload and he was
more affected by the workload and stresses and strains of his duties, and it failed to make
reasonable adjustments.
In the pleadings this PCP has been called PCP3.
The PCP is pleaded in §22(a)(c) ET1 [60], FBP [74].
C’s suggested adjustments are pleaded in §24 ET1 [62].
The FBP [76] limit these suggested adjustments to the same as those for PCP1.
R denies this was a PCP and says in any event that reasonable adjustments were made as
per paragraphs 9 and 10 above and that as per §76 ET3 [97] C was persistently encouraged
to reduce his workload and hence his billable hours.

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