MHA | Employment Law Case: Miller v Rentokil

Employment Law Case: Miller v Rentokil

Joanna Rose · April 22nd 2024 · read

HR Solutions April 24 2

In Miller v Rentokil (2024) the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that an employer failed in their duty to make reasonable adjustments when it dismissed an employee with a disability instead of giving him a trial period in an alternative role.

Mr Miller had been employed as a field-based pest control technician since April 2016. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2017; by 2019, he was no longer able to work at height with ladders and could only work slowly. Working at height constituted a large part of his role.

Rentokil correctly considered other roles for him and Mr Miller applied for a service administrator role. He was interviewed but was unsuccessful due to failing tests on verbal skills and maths. It was noted that these tests involved the use of Excel, with which he was not very familiar. After a capability meeting concerning his pest control role, he was dismissed. He raised a claim in the Employment Tribunal stating that by not giving him a trial period in the role, they had failed to make reasonable adjustments. His claim was upheld by the Employment Tribunal, stating that he should have been offered training in Excel to address the shortcoming identified by the test and that there was at least a 50% chance that he could then have performed the role. Rentokil appealed.

On appeal, the EAT agreed with the Tribunal. It found that Mr Miller was substantially disadvantaged due to his disability and that offering him a suitable alternative role would have potentially been a reasonable adjustment. Rentokil had, however, not demonstrated that it was reasonable not to have given him the role or at least to give him a trial period before making a decision. It therefore found that the Tribunal was correct to conclude that Rentokil had failed in their duty to make reasonable adjustments.

This case demonstrates how important it is for employers to carefully consider what reasonable adjustments they might be able to make for employees with a disability. Any reasonable adjustments which are proposed should be fully investigated. If an employer is not able to make a particular reasonable adjustment, then they must be able to demonstrate why they have found that they are unable to do so

Contact us Get in touch with our HR Solutions team Contact the team

This insight was previously published in our HR Solutions April 2024 newsletter

Read full newsletter
Share this article
Related tags