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Asking how long “this disabled thing” was going to go on was harassment

Makbool Javaid

In Murphy v Northumberland County Council, M is disabled suffering from a physical impairment to her feet, with a history of hypermobility. Following an operation on M’s foot she was absent from work for 18 months. During a meeting to discuss M’s absence and the possibility of a return to work, the Operational Manager (OM) stated that she had been busy, that M’s absence had been ongoing for some time which had caused difficulties for the team in which M worked and that a job for her could not be made to “magically appear”. In a subsequent meeting the OM indicated towards M’s feet and asked her how long was “this disabled thing” going to go on. The ET found that both instances amounted to harassment related to disability.  While there had been no intent to offend in either case, nevertheless, the effect was to create an intimidating working environment.

The updates are kindly provided by Simons Muirhead & Burton Law firm

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 help judgments 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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