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A tribunal has awarded £1.7m in compensation following a successful unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claim. An employee lost access to private medical cover he relied on for cancer treatment after being made redundant. Here’s what you need to know.


An employee had suffered from cancer most of the time he’d worked for the employer. He relied on the employer’s private medical cover to manage symptoms and receive treatment (unavailable on the NHS). He was made redundant despite colleagues having alternative roles created – losing access to private medical cover when he lost his job. He was unable to find an alternative before losing his battle with cancer. The £1.7m compensation was awarded to his widow.

Practical takeaway 

Genuine consultation – the tribunal said there was a meaningless consultation process and no exploration of alternative roles. Take early advice on the appropriate consultation process to follow and save evidence of all consultation processes and discussions.

Loss of benefit – typically the loss of private medical cover won’t attract compensation as the NHS can continue the care. However in this case the NHS was unable to do so at the same speed and level of specialism. Do your homework and understand whether the loss of private medical cover is likely to result in a worsening of the employee’s condition. If so, you need to understand the potential financial exposure if any dismissal is considered unfair or discriminatory.

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This update is accurate on the date it was sent (11 November 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

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