Was capping compensation for two disabled police officers section 15 unfavourable treatment? Karen Jackson explains.

Yes, said the EAT in Chief Constable of Gwent Police v Parsons and Roberts.

The two Claimants were in their forties and had between them 41 years of service. They were disabled and in possession of H1 certificates from the force which gave them immediate access to a deferred pension on exit.

Police officers are not employees and cannot be made redundant however under austerity measures an exit scheme analogous to voluntary redundancy, a VES, was put in place. The force chose to cap the compensation for the officers at six months’ pay instead of 21 and 18 months respectively.

Distinguishing the case from Williams, the EAT held that capping the compensation was clearly section 15 unfavourable treatment. Applying Pnaiser, the treatment was evidently something which arose in consequence of disability: the H1 certificates were issued because of the officers’ disablities. In principle preventing a windfall might be a legitimate aim but on the paucity of evidence put forward the Chief Constable failed to justify the treatment.

This case provides a neat working example of how section 15 works.

This blog first appeared in Daniel Barnett’s Employment Law Bulletin.