Man who's been on sick leave for 15 years sues IBM for not giving him a pay rise
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A man who has been on sick leave since 2008 is suing his employer for not giving him a pay rise in the meantime, arguing that inflation is withering away his salary.
Ian Clifford is employed by tech giant IBM but he's been off sick for the past 15 years, and according to his LinkedIn profile, he's been 'medically retired' since 2013.
IBM and Clifford reached a 'compromise agreement' where he was put onto the company's disability plan so he wouldn't be dismissed.
As a result, he remained an employee with 'no obligation to work'.
Under the terms of the company's health plan where an employee has the right to earn three-quarters of their agreed earnings Clifford has received an annual payment of £54,028 and will keep doing so until he's 65 so in the end he'd receive around £1.5 million.
However, Clifford sued his employer as he was not happy that the amount hadn't increased in the past decade.
In February 2022 he took IBM to an employment tribunal on claims of disability discrimination, with a similar grievance to last time he raised concerns.
Clifford said he had been treated 'unfavourably' as he'd received no salary increase since 2013 and warned that the 'value of the payments would soon wither' due to punishingly high levels of inflation.
He said: "The point of the plan was to give security to employees not able to work - that was not achieved if payments were forever frozen."
Things did not turn out the way he wanted as the employment tribunal in Reading dismissed his claim.
Clifford as told that he was getting a 'very substantial benefit' and receiving 'favourable treatment'.
"Active employees may get pay rises, but inactive employees do not, is a difference, but is not, in my judgement, a detriment caused by something arising from disability." Employment Judge Paul Housego said in his dismissal of the case.
"The complaint is in fact that the benefit of being an inactive employee on the Plan is not generous enough, because the payments have been at a fixed level since April 6, 2013, now 10 years, and may remain so."
"The claim is that the absence of increase in salary is disability discrimination because it is less favourable treatment than afforded those not disabled."
"This contention is not sustainable because only the disabled can benefit from the plan.
"It is not disability discrimination that the Plan is not even more generous.
"Even if the value of the £50,000 a year halved over 30 years, it is still a very substantial benefit."