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Reasonable adjustment duty triggered where disabled employee expected to work late

Makbool Javaid

In United First Partners Research v Carreras, Carreras (C) sustained severe physical and psychological injuries as a result of a cycling crash and is disabled. Initially, he was allowed to work shorter hours, but the employer then made known its “expectation” and “assumption” that C would work late on one or two evenings. C complained, but to no avail, and he resigned, because, among other reasons, he had been forced to work late, which caused fatigue, dizziness and lack of concentration. C claimed (among other issues) that the employer had failed to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments, where a provision criteria or practice (PCP) puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage. This was rejected by an ET, who found there was no was no “requirement” to work long hours, merely an “expectation” and “assumption”. The CA and the EAT agreed that the ET had adopted a too narrow approach. The development over a period of time of an expectation/assumption that C would work late and choose which evenings to do so, was a ‘practice’. As the ET itself had recognised, employees can feel obliged to work in a particular way, even if disadvantageous to their health. A PCP had been in place which disadvantaged C, and the reasonable adjustment duty had been triggered.

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgements made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information.  Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.

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