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Case Law Update – June 2023

The second quarter of 2023 has witnessed some interesting case law updates regarding discrimination and compensation for unfair dismissal of employees.

Lydia Edwards vs Pick Everard

Edwards was hired by the Pick Everard in 2018,  and disclosed her dyslexia, stating it had not caused any problems in previous jobs. However, certain issues were observed with the claimant’s electronic file-saving methods and using their mobile phone, which the Edwards attributed to dyslexia-related apps on the device. Edwards failed to provide a dyslexia report during the disciplinary process, and consequently information was obtained from the NHS website regarding dyslexia. As a result, Edwards contended that she had been treated like a child. The person conducting the disciplinary hearing concluded that the likely outcome would be dismissal.

Edwards subsequently brought a claim to the employment tribunal. The findings of this were that:

  • Raising concern regarding mobile phone use was justified, and not detrimental treatment. It was concluded that this was not related to disability but conduct.
  • The information obtained from the NHS website, which included information about children, was not a detriment and therefore unreasonable for the claimant to be upset.
  • Saving electronic files to a personal drive was rejected as arising in consequence of disability.  It was correct action in maintaining document security by the Company.

The entire case can be accessed here.

Topps Tiles PLC v G Hardy

The claimant, who made the respondent aware of their 20 year history of depression, was suspended and dismissed as a result of an altercation with a customer. The claimant as a result claimed compensation for alleged unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.

The claimant argued his disability was disregarded, and the respondent failed to consider mitigating factors and investigate the health issues disclosed. The respondent denied knowledge of the claimant’s disability and justified the dismissal based on alleged inappropriate behaviour by the claimant during the incident.

The ET determined the claimant met the criteria of being a disabled person as defined by section 6 of the Equality Act (EqA). Additionally, the ET found the respondent had knowledge of the claimant’s depressive condition.

The ET acknowledged the dismissal constituted “unfavourable treatment” under section 15 of the EqA. The ET recognised the requirement of a causal link between the disability and the conduct that led to the dismissal. They concluded that the evidence demonstrated the claimant’s depression was more than a trivial contributing factor, and therefore a connection was established between the claimant’s longstanding medical history and their reaction to the customer’s highly provocative behaviour.  

The final determination was that the individual was subjected to unfavourable treatment due to a circumstance that occurred as a result of their disability. Specifically, the challenges they faced in controlling their anger when faced with triggers such as customer arguments.

The ET also considered whether dismissing the claimant was a fair decision or not and was there any other action that could have been taken. It was concluded that no other possibility was given a thought about, other than dismissal of the claimant. It wasn’t justified seeing his fruitful career of 17 years.

The entire case can be viewed here.

If your organisation is currently facing employment-related challenges, please get in touch with ViewHR; one of our experienced team members would be happy to help.