A lawyer who was dismissed from his law firm after suffering “extreme fatigue” has been awarded a substantial compensation payment in a case before a London employment tribunal.
law firm Duncan Lewis may face a substantial compensation payout following a recent court verdict that deemed the firm’s dismissal of a solicitor, who was suffering from “extreme fatigue,” as unfair.
Chinedu Orogbu worked for Duncan Lewis as director in the firm’s housing department, and his role was terminated on November 12, 2020, which lead to a claim for unjust dismissal.
The firm contended that Orogbu had not adequately fulfilled his job responsibilities for a total of 70 days spanning from April to October 2020. They also argued that he had consistently failed to meet the billing-to-salary target throughout his tenure, which commenced in 2018.
During proceedings at the East London Employment Tribunal, Orogbu admitted to being absent from work for 70 days and failing to report these absences, as required by the firm’s protocols.
A performance review conducted by Joshi indicated Orogbu’s subpar performance from the beginning, deeming it “wholly unacceptable.” The tribunal’s recent ruling, published last week, cited Joshi’s characterization of Orogbu’s performance and her assertion that he had committed “gross misconduct” by not reporting his absences.
Duncan Lewis contended that they held “suspicions” that Orogbu’s failure to report his absences was an act of “dishonesty.”
However, Employment Judge Gordon Walker determined that Duncan Lewis had made assumptions about Orogbu’s ability to adhere to the firm’s procedures that lacked a basis in medical evidence, making no finding of dishonesty.
The Judge acknowledged that Orogbu’s “extreme fatigue” qualified him as a disabled person and noted that his condition had deteriorated during the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.
The tribunal ruled in favor of Orogbu, deeming his claim of unfair dismissal to be “well founded” and upholding a portion of his disability discrimination claim against his former employer. The firm is reportedly to appeal the Tribunal’s finding.