Flybe 'didn't follow the correct process' to sack pilot with fear of flying, says employment lawyer

Flybe plane

Monday, November 12, 2018

An employment lawyer has said that budget airline Flybe didn't follow the "correct process" when firing a pilot who had developed a fear of long flights.

Pilot Matthew Guest recently won an unfair dismissal claim against the airline, after he was sacked as a result of his phobia.

Philip Landau, from Landau Law, told talkRADIO's Mike Graham that the transport company had made "inherently the right decision" to remove Mr Guest from his role as a pilot, but "fell down on process".

"The big point that came out of the tribunal is that it was in the interest of justice that you cannot just have somebody being sacked without even having met the decision maker, who in this case was the chief operating officer.

 

'Fell down on process'

"He just sent the pilot a letter saying you take this alternative role or you're sacked. Therefore they fell down on process."

Mr Landau added that a phobia was considered a disability under employment law, which required making reasonable adjustments and a number of face-to-face meetings.

"A disability under employment law terms obviously has a special meaning, and that is a physical and mental impairment that has a substantial and adverse long-term effect on your day to day activities. 

 

"If somebody has a disability that falls within that general guideline, then you have to take steps to either provide reasonable adjustment for them, you have to properly consult with them and their medical advisers, look at medical reports, you have to meet with them.

"You cannot have a disability and an employer says 'Off you go, we're sending you a letter'. Not even meeting with the person, let alone consulting with them and looking in detail at the medical evidence."