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Employer could have known employee was disabled during appeal against dismissal

Makbool Javaid

An employer can defend a S.15 Equality Act 2010 ‘discrimination arising from disability’ claim, if it can show that it did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the employee had the disability. In Baldeh v Churches Housing Association of Dudley and District Ltd, B was dismissed because of poor performance and her manner towards colleagues and service users. B stated during her appeal that a previous breakdown meant that her mental health could result in her saying things that were unguarded, but her appeal was unsuccessful. An ET rejected B’s S.15 claim. It accepted B was disabled because of depression but the employer did not know and could not reasonably have been expected to know that B was disabled at the time of dismissal. The EAT upheld an appeal. While the employer did not know B was disabled at the time of dismissal, it may have acquired actual or constructive knowledge of it before the rejection of her appeal; the appeal was part of the disciplinary process and the rejection of the appeal was part of the unfavourable treatment B complained about.

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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