IBM worker, off for 15 years, speaks up about his situation and discloses illness

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A couple of days ago, Neowin reported on the IBM worker Ian Clifford who sued IBM to try and get a pay rise despite not working since 2008. Mr Clifford has now publicly commented on his situation to The Telegraph explaining that he had sued for a pay rise to help his family’s financial security as he has been diagnosed with leukaemia and is on chemotherapy.

It was reported initially that he would receive his pay until he got to age 65, which is true, but Mr Clifford says that his “life is being curtailed” and that the chance of him living to 65 is “highly unlikely.” Aside from publicly sharing his illness, he also said that the pay rise he wanted from IBM was just 2.5 per cent, much lower than the above 10 per cent inflation that has been seen in the UK. According to The Telegraph, Mr Clifford has now lodged an appeal against the ruling to get another shot at the pay rise.

Explaining his situation, Mr Clifford said:

“I am on chemotherapy and have been for many years and have been extremely unwell. Your salary affects your death in service [insurance], pension and everything else, it was more for my family. People may think, yes it's generous, but firstly those amounts are gross not taxed. ... I do pay National Insurance on those amounts. I have a son [who is] off to university. Your mortgage doesn't go down because you are sick. I had to use all my savings to bring this case and more and had to borrow money on a credit card… it's left me financially very vulnerable. People will still think it's greedy but at the end of the day, yes it's unfortunate, but that was a benefit I got with the job. My life is being curtailed, the chances of me living to 65 is highly unlikely.”

If you missed the initial reporting, essentially Ian Clifford was actively working for IBM until 2008, at which point, he fell ill and took advantage of an IBM health plan that was available to him. On that plan, he would receive 75% of his £72,037 ($89,671) salary until he reaches age 65. Unfortunately, he did not receive pay increases like the active workers at IBM and with the rate of inflation running high recently, he tried suing the company for a pay rise. It has also been disclosed that Mr Clifford and his lawyers made two separate offers to IBM before taking the case to court.

The court took the side of IBM on the grounds that the lack of pay rise was not disability discrimination because he was being treated more favourably than other employees who still have to go to work for their pay. The case has invoked mixed reactions, some people think his claim is legitimate while others think his existing pay is satisfactory, especially seeing as it’s well above the UK average wage and he’s not actively working.

Source: The Telegraph

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