An IT employee who has been on sick leave for 15 years took legal action against IBM, claiming discrimination due to the lack of a salary increase. Ian Clifford argued that his yearly payment of £54,028, which he received as 75% of his agreed earnings under IBM's disability plan, would depreciate over time due to inflation.
However, his case was dismissed by an employment tribunal judge who deemed his payment a "very substantial benefit."
Clifford's story, as reported by Telegraph, dates back to 2000 when he joined Lotus Development, later acquired by IBM. Following his sick leave in 2008, he filed a grievance in 2013, alleging the lack of salary increments and holiday pay for the preceding five years.
In an effort to resolve the issue, IBM placed him on their disability plan, ensuring that he received 75 per cent of his agreed earnings. This amounted to £54,028 (approximately Rs 55.34 lakh) per year until he reached the age of 65.
Despite earning a yearly salary of £54,028 and having a fixed retirement plan until the age of 65, he is expected to accumulate a sum exceeding £1.5 million.
Nevertheless, Clifford held a contrasting perspective, alleging that he experienced unfavourable treatment in comparison to non-disabled colleagues who received salary increases adjusted for inflation.
Clifford firmly believed that without adjusting his salary for inflation, its value would gradually diminish or "wither" over time.
Presiding over the case was Judge Paul Housego, who delivered his verdict asserting that the disability plan aimed to offer financial security to employees unable to work.
Judge Housego emphasised that the plan's lack of "greater generosity" did not amount to discrimination, as it was specifically intended for disabled individuals and not accessible to others.
He went on to emphasise the considerable annual benefit exceeding £50,000, noting that even if its value were to decrease by half over a span of 30 years, it would still represent a substantial amount.