A terminally ill IBM worker on sick leave for the past 15 years has insisted he is not greedy for trying to sue the tech giant because they have not given him a pay rise.
Ian Clifford, a 50-year-old senior IT technician, was signed off work in 2008 for mental-health related reasons and was diagnosed with stage four leukaemia in 2012.
Under an IBM health plan, while off work he receives more than £54,000 a year, guaranteed until the age of 65.
Last year, Mr Clifford brought the tech giant to court for disability discrimination, arguing his salary had not been reviewed since 2013.
A judge threw out his claim at an employment tribunal in March, saying he had received a “very substantial benefit” and “favourable treatment”.
‘It was more for my family’
Speaking publicly for the first time since the ruling, Mr Clifford said he took legal action because he wanted to provide security for his family.
“I am on chemotherapy and have been for many years and have been extremely unwell,” he said.
“Your salary affects your debt service, 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.”
He added: “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.”
‘Legal action was a last resort’
Mr Clifford said he had spent more than £30,000 in bringing the case against IBM and doubts that he will still be alive in the next 15 years.
“My life is being curtailed, the chances of me living to 65 is highly unlikely.”
He insisted that legal action was a last resort and had always considered himself a “company man”.
Mr Clifford disclosed that he had sought a modest 2.5 per cent pay rise for his status as an employee between 2013 and 2022 and wants IBM to clarify whether they had carried out a formal salary review.
Two separate offers were made by Mr Clifford and his lawyers to IBM to settle the case before the hearing, he claimed.
He has now lodged an appeal against the ruling.
In correspondence seen by The Telegraph, IBM’s lawyers have argued there is “no obligation” for the company to increase his disability salary.
IBM declined to comment.