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Whittick v British School of Motoring

Employment Tribunal, April 2002 (Case no. 3104185/01; Folio Ref: 14:228:38)

The applicant had a stutter. BSM conceded that he had a disability within the DDA.

The applicant paid BSM for and attended various training courses and meetings during which he was trained and assessed in relation to his application for a franchise to operate a driving school. The applicant complained that he was prevented from completing the course and, as a result, was denied the opportunity of qualifying as a driving instructor and obtaining a franchise from BSM.

Held by Employment Tribunal: the Tribunal had no jurisdiction to consider the application, because the applicant was neither employed by BSM nor applying to be an employee of it.

BSM did not employ driving instructors. The applicant paid BSM for a course of training and instruction. He hoped that on satisfactory completion of the course he would be able to obtain a franchise from BSM but was not an applicant for employment.

My comments

It seems from a London Evening Standard article (11.4.02, external link) that the applicant had completed parts 1 and 2 of the course for which verbal skills were not really required, but then failed a kind of mock exam on instructing technique. BSM officials had told the Employment Tribunal that he would have been a liability on the road because he was unable to give vital commands in time, in particular he could not say "stop" fast enough in an emergency. The applicant countered that he would have bought a dual control car so he would always be able to brake and would never be a danger.

Had the case fallen within the tribunal's jurisdiction, it would have had to decide whether BSM was justified in taking the action it did. However, since no employment was involved, the tribunal did not get to consider whether BSM's reasons were sufficient.

The applicant may possibly have had a better chance if he had brought his complaint to a County Court under Part III of the DDA, the goods and services provisions. Depending on the status of BSM, the education exemption then in force may well not have been relevant. Accordingly these provisions might have applied to services or facilities being offered by BSM to the applicant, if they were offered to the public.

There is an article by a driving instructor who stammers: Driving instructor at last (link to BSA website).


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Last updated 22nd August, 2002