IT Worker Who’s Been On Sick Leave For 15 Years Sues Company Over No Pay Raise

IT Worker Who’s Been On Sick Leave For 15 Years Sues Company Over No Pay Raise LinkedIn

Ian Clifford began working as an IT specialist for a company called Lotus Development back in 2000 before it was bought by IBM. However, he hasn’t actually put in a day’s work since 2008, when he went off on sick leave and never returned. While IBM’s health plan ensures he gets £54,000 ($67,000) a year until he reaches the age of retirement anyway, Clifford thinks IBM is being stingy and should have given him a raise by now. So, he’s suing them.

Clifford says in court documents that being paid well beyond the UK average for doing absolutely nothing is “not generous enough” and that this salary will “wither” over the years because of inflation. He believes IBM has a duty to give him more money and he’s willing to take them to court over it.

After going on sick leave in September 2008, Ian Clifford happily cashed his checks until April 2013, when he raised a formal grievance because he hadn’t been given any holiday pay or a pay rise for that five-year period. Eventually, they reached a “compromise agreement” and Clifford was put on IBM’s disability plan when he was in his mid-30s. That deal means that if he can’t work, he doesn’t get fired but instead is still considered an employee and has “no obligation to work.”

The plan stipulates that the plan remains in place to pay anyone on it 75% of their salary until they reach the age of retirement. At the time, Clifford was receiving £72,037 ($89,750) a year, which meant he would get £54,028 ($67,000) after the 25% was taken off. In total, he’ll get more than £1.5 million ($1.87 million) free and clear by the time he starts receiving a state pension.

Ian Clifford previously agreed to bring no further grievances against IBM

One of the stipulations of that settlement was that Ian Clifford would never raise a grievance against IBM again in the future. However, he did exactly that in 2022 when he started an employment tribunal claiming the company was guilty of disability discrimination. He said he’d been treated “unfavorably” by IBM since they’d never given him holiday pay or a raise.

Thankfully, Judge Paul Housego dismissed Clifford’s case outright, calling out the greed and ridiculousness of the claims. In his ruling, Housego said that only active employees should be given raises and that not getting a raise when Clifford isn’t even working is in no way disability discrimination. After all, he’s literally getting paid a very generous salary to do nothing at all.

“Even if the value of the £50,000 a year halved over 30 years, it is still a very substantial benefit,” Judge Housego said, per The Telegraph. “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 favorable treatment related to disability. It is more favorable treatment, not less.”

It’s unclear what disability Clifford has and why he has been unable to work for the past 15 years.

Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.