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Rejecting a posting to Dubai due to medical risk was not disability discrimination

Makbool Javaid
disabilities

In Owen v Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited, O is disabled: he has double below knee amputations and type 2 diabetes; he also suffers from hypertension, kidney disease, ischaemic heart disease and morbid obesity. A client wanted O to be part of a project management team in Dubai. A doctor appointed by the employer’s occupational health department stated that O was able to perform the job, but had an appalling medical history, seemed unwilling to improve his health and would be at a high risk medically whilst in Dubai. The employer informed O that he could not undertake the assignment. The CA agreed with the ET and the EAT that direct discrimination because of disability under S.13 of the Equality Act 2010 had not occurred. S.23(1) requires a comparison of cases in like-for-like circumstances and S.23(2) provides that where disability is concerned the ‘circumstances’ must include each individual’s respective abilities. Here, a hypothetical comparator with the same medical risk would have been treated in exactly the same way even if they did not have O’s particular disability.


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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