Morrisons has been fined £3.5 million after the death of an epileptic employee.

The supermarket giant has been found guilty of three health and safety offences after the incident in September 2014.

27-year-old Matthew Gunn suffered severe head injuries after he suffered a seizure and fell from a stairway at a store in Gloucestershire.

Read More: Morrisons posts £1.5 billion loss after being sold to CD&R

The store was found guilty by a Gloucester Crown Court jury after initially contesting three health and safety offences.

The business subsequently conceded a fourth offence before the trial.

The court heard how Mr.Gunn died three-and-a-half months after his mother had told managers her son suffered regular seizures.

Prosecutor Richard Atkins KC said Morrisons should have moved Mr. Gunn’s locker to the bottom floor and prevented him from accessing the stairs because it was aware of his health issues,

He said: “The defendant knew of the risk posed by the stairs to Matthew Gunn,”

Read More: Morrisons will drop property maintenance suppliers putting 1,000 jobs at risk

“Many in the management were aware of the frequency of the tonic-clonic seizures and the prosecution submits that by the time of the fatal failings on September 25, 2014, there was a highly likely high level of harm occurring.”

Richard Matthews KC, defending, said he would address the court on the sentencing guidelines which were “cold and widely removed from the human tragedy that this case concerns”.

“Nothing that I say in that cold way is intended to remove anything from that tragedy,” he added.

Read More: Morrisons to axe 160 McColl’s head office roles

Judge Moira Macmillan said: “Matthew was forced to use the stairs at least eight times a day for each of his breaks as he had to keep his cigarettes in his locker.

“Morrisons, as Matthew’s employers, have a duty to ensure his health and safety.

“The jury decided that using the stairs for the amount of times he did, was a contributory factor to his death.

“The company failed to carry out a risk assessment. Morrisons fell short of the standards expected for somebody suffering from epilepsy.”

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

She said: “Morrisons, in failing to move Matthew’s locker downstairs, is indisputable. The company failed to treat him as an individual and make appropriate changes. I accept that the risks were specific to Matthew.”

That comes at a time when Morrisons is facing criticism and pressure to sign an animal welfare policy to improve its circumstances for animals after allegedly “refusing” to do so.

SourceGrocery Gazette

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook