Disability discrimination

Knowledge of disability and the role of occupational health reports

An employer was wrong unquestioningly to adopt an opinion from its occupational health adviser that an employee was not disabled – it should have asked further specific practical questions and not simply ‘rubber stamped’ the adviser’s opinion.
Gallop v Newport City Council
 

Car parking space as a reasonable adjustment and disability harassment

The failure to allocate a disabled employee a parking space was a failure to make a reasonable adjustment. But the sending of an email in the context of raising concerns about the employee’s commitment to reaching a resolution of her continuing absence did not meet the statutory definition of harassment.
Environment Agency v Donnelly
 

Reduced working hours as a reasonable adjustment

An employer did not breach its duty to make reasonable adjustments when it agreed to a disabled employee working reduced hours for 13 weeks without expressly saying that it would review the period of reduced working hours and extend it if necessary.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre Plus) v Higgins
 

Disability discrimination and frustration: can they co-exist?

Can the concept of frustration of contract sit alongside the statutory protection afforded to employees who are disabled? Yes it can said the EAT, although rather unenthusiastically. As long as there is no breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments in the case of a disabled employee, the usual rules on frustration of contact can apply.
Warner v Armfield Retail and Leisure Ltd
 

Reasonable adjustments can include private psychiatric counselling

An employer had not made reasonable adjustments when it failed to pay for the employee, who was suffering from work-related stress and depression, to have private psychiatric services and counselling. The issue was not the payment of private medical treatment in general, but, rather, payment for a specific form of support to enable her to return to work and cope with the difficulties she had been experiencing.
Croft Vets Ltd v Butcher
 

Adjusting sickness absence policies for disabled employees

The EAT has given some useful guidance on how employers should approach making reasonable adjustments for an employee whose disability interacts with other ailments.
HMRC v Whiteley
 


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