Man Who’s Been On Sick Leave For 15 Years Sues Employer For Not Giving Him A Pay Rise

A man who was on sick leave for 15 years sues their employer for not giving him a pay rise. Find out more information here...
Credit: Ian Clifford via LinkedIn & Alamy

A man who’s been on sick leave for 15 years has sued his employer for not giving him a pay rise.

Ian Clifford has worked for the tech company IBM since 2003, according to his LinkedIn profile.

However, he has allegedly been ‘medically retired’ since 2013 – but first went on sick leave in 2008.

Now, he is taking action to launch a legal claim against his employer.

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Clifford is suing IBM as the company has not raised his wages in line with inflation.

IBM and Clifford reached a ‘compromise agreement’ where he was put onto the company’s disability plan so he wouldn’t be dismissed.

Due to this, he remained an employee under the term ‘no obligation to work’.

As part of the company’s health plan, an employee has the right to earn three-quarters of their agreed earnings.

This means he would earn a guaranteed salary of £54,000 ($67,550) – which is 75 per cent of his £72,037 ($90,144) salary.

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He will be earning this until his retirement age of 65 – meaning that he could pocket around £1.5 million in sick pay.

However, Clifford sued his employer as he was not happy that his wage hadn’t increased over the past decade.

Last year, he took IBM to an employment tribunal as he felt he was being discriminated against because of his disability – regarding a similar issue to the last time he raised concerns about his pay.

A tribunal was heard in Reading, England, where he said he had been treated ‘unfavourably’ with no salary increase since 2013.

Clifford adds that he was also not given any holiday entitlement and then went on to compare himself to non-disabled employees – who are reportedly paid their full salary during holidays.

Ian Clifford
Ian Clifford sued his employer, IBM, for not raising his sick pay for 15 years. Credit: Ian Clifford via LinkedIn

Clifford also told the tribunal that inflation is now running at over 10 per cent and the ‘value of of the payments would soon wither’.

He adds (via The Mirror): “The point of the plan was to give security to employees not able to work – that was not achieved if payments were forever frozen.”

Despite his pleas, the tribunal dismissed his claims – with Judge Paul Housego claiming that Clifford is earning a ‘very substantial benefit’ from his employers.

He says: “Active employees may get pay rises, but inactive employees do not.

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“The claim is that the absence of an 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.

“However, this is not the issue for, fundamentally, the terms of something given as a benefit to the disabled, and not available to those not disabled, cannot be less favourable treatment related to disability.”

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Written by Rosario Monachino

Rosario is a content editor at IGV who specialises in film, TV and entertainment news. He has a degree in English and Film from the University of Salford and a masters in Journalism from Liverpool John Moores University.