- Perceived discrimination page updated for Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey decided in December 2017. This is the first time an appeal tribunal has upheld a claim that (direct) discrimination because the claimant was perceived to have a disability was unlawful under the Equality Act. The claimant therefore did not need to show she actually had a disability
- Brexit page updated for the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, introduced into Parliament on 13th July.
- Employment tribunal fees ruled unlawful - the system of fees to bring an employment tribunal claim, which has been in place since 2013, was ruled unlawful by the Supreme Court on 26th July.
- News report: Sainsburys petrol station - a civil servant claims that staff at a petrol station mimicked his stammer when he had difficulty pronouncing his pump number, and laughed at his speech.
- Blamires v Local Government Ombudsman - County Court decision in which failure by the Ombudsman to provide a face-to-face meeting was held to be a breach of the Equality Act.
- Employment tribunal decisions are now being put online at www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions . Previously only appeal decisions in employment cases were systematically put online, eg at bailii.org. On the one hand, adverse findings against employers are becoming public. On the other hand, employers will be able to search whether a job applicant has brought a tribunal claim (though discriminating because of an equality claim is likely to be unlawful victimisation).
- News reports of coffee shop staff writing mocking comment on cup of customer who stammers. Added to examples at Services: Examples on stammering.
- Paulley v First Group plc - Supreme Court decision on reasonable adjustments by service providers. A bus company was held not to have taken sufficient steps to encourage passengers to vacate a priority wheelchair space where needed by a wheelchair user.
- Galo v Bombadier Aerospace, 2016 - the, Northern Ireland Court of Appeal overturned a Northern Irish industrial tribunal decision because the tribunal had not made appropriate adjustments for the claimant's disability. An early 'ground rules' case management session should have been convened to meet the specific challenges of his condition.
New links added to Disability discrimination links: United States:
- Rackham v NHS Professionals - the EAT accepted that employment tribunals are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for claimants, though in this case the tribunal had sufficiently met its obligations. The EAT gave guidance on the area for future employment tribunal cases.
- In Banaszczyk v Booker the EAT held that lifting weights in a warehouse up to 25kg was a 'normal day to day activity', even where the employer expected staff to do it at a particular speed (pick rate). The case supports a wide meaning of 'disability' in employment cases.
- New Isle of Man equality legislation - an Equality Bill along the lines of Britain's Equality Act 2010 has started its passage through the Tynwald.
- Work placements related to univerisity or FE course - added to 'Education' section, adpated from the previous 'Work experience' page.
- Metroline v Stoute - EAT considers that simply avoiding sugary drinks is not a measure to be discounted in deciding whether diabetic person has a disability.
- Scope of European Convention rights - page on scope of ECHR discrimination protection under Article 14 updated to include IB v Greece (dismissal due to HIV) and Boyraz v Turkey (December 2014) on sex discrimination.
- Paulley v First Group plc - the Court of Appeal overturned a decision that if a wheelchair user needs the wheelchair space on a bus, the driver must require (rather than just request) other passengers to vacate the space. Case is being appealed to Supreme Court.
- Services: reasonable adjustments - new page on the anticipatory reasonable adjustment duty applying to service providers and public authorities.
- MM & DM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, - the Court of Appeal largely upheld the lower court's decision on the duty to make reasonable adjustments for mental health patients claiming Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
- Finnigan v Northumbria Police - Court of Appeal decision on reasonable adjustments as regards communication with a deaf person whose house was searched.
- Link added to Equal Justice www.slideshare.net/slideshow/embed_code/37759961, a campaign to restore the balance on costs to enable people to bring legitimate Equality Act claims against service providers and universities.
- Paulley v First Group - the County Court held a bus company was in breach of the reasonable adjustment duty since it did not require (only requested) others to vacate the space for a wheelchair user.
- Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence - Court of Appeal confirms that discrimination by association does not apply to reasonable adjustments. It must be the worker who is disabled. Eg a worker is not entitled to reasonable adjustments to care for a disabled family member.
- Equality and Human Rights Commission page updated, including result of review of the Disability Committee.
- Edwards v Flamingo Land - the Court of Appeal held that a restaurant did not have to make a reasonable adjustment to allow a disabled family to eat in a picnic area immediately next to the outdoor tables. Whether or not that would be reasonable, it would be a different kind of service.
- Fees for employment tribunal claims - to be introduced from 29th July.
- MM & DM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - a Equality Act case on reasonable adjustments to the process for assessing entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance. The Upper Tribunal agreed that people with mental health problems are put at a substantial disadvantage by current practice.
- National equality standard - the Equality and Human Rights Commision has been working with businesses to develop an equalities standard, which was launched this month.
- Employers Stammering Network: Unlocking stammering - launched by British Stammering Association in May 2013. It will enable employers to receive information, support and advice on how to recruit and support people who stammer.
- Hiding the stammer - page reviewed and updated
- Mental Health Care v Biluan - unfair competency assessment to select for redundancy, unfair dismissal claims succeeded. (This wasn't an Equality Act case).
- Onu v Akwiwu - on victimisation after employment has ended. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held this is covered by the Equality Act, so there are now conflicting decisions.
- Aggravated or exemplary damages - short section added on employment remedies page, in the light of the recent McGlue case.
- Legal aid updated.
- Fee remissions - consultation on the system for waiving or reducing court/tribunal fees. The system will apply to the new employment tribunal fees.
- O'Brien v Ministry of Justice - the Supreme Court held that cost was not an objective justification for discriminating against part-time judges, in not giving them a pension.
- Ring v Dansk almennyttigt Boligselskab - very important case in which the European Union court modified its definition of 'disability' to take greater account of the social model of disability, and emphasised the importance of the UN disability convention.
- Parents of C v Trustees of Earl Stanbridge School - the First tier tribunal held there was a breach of the Equality Act where a vulnerable disabled girl was excluded in relation to sexual conduct.
- Price v Action-Tec Services (under 'Stereotypes and assumptions') - a tribunal held an employer liable for direct discrimination where it made stereotypical assumptions about an employee's reliability and attendance based on her and her husband's disabilities.
- Jamieson v Chorlton High School - a teacher with a mental health disorder was dismissed for inappropriate behaviour with a former pupil. He won a claim that this was discrimination arising from disability.
- Lowe v Cabinet Office - March 2011 employment tribunal case. The claimant had Asperger's Syndrome, and failed in a claim for reasonable adjustments related to communication competencies, in an assessment for the Civil Service Fast Stream.
- equalitytalk.org.uk - new website on how Equality Act 2010 applies to adults with speech, language and communication needs, including stammering, aphasia etc.
- Scottish specific duties for PSED - final draft regulations now available. They are expected to take effect on 27th May.
- Consultation on Scottish qualifications - draft SQA 'specifications' setting out exceptions to the reasonable adjustment duty for exam boards in relation to 'National Qualifications in Scotland'.
- ZH v The Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis - police held to be in breach of the reasonable adjustment duty, in exercise of public functions.
- 'Non statutory codes' for Equality Act 2010 are to be issued on schools, further and higher education and (after consultation) the Public Sector Equality Duty. This is in place of 'statutory Codes' which the Coalition Government is no longer willing to authorise.
- Ofqual specifications limiting the reasonable adjustment duty for GCSEs, A-levels etc in England are (mostly) now in force.
- Ravat v Halliburton - territoriality rules on unfair dismissal updated for the Supreme Court decision.
- Stott v Thomas Cook - compensation for injury to feelings not available for discrimination in air travel (boarding, on plane, and disembarkation).
- Post-employment victimisation - Employment Tribunal case suggesting this is not covered by Equality Act 2010.
- Burke v College of Law - the Court of Appeal upheld a decision that sufficient reasonable adjustments (including extra time) had been given to a student with multiple sclerosis taking exams to become a solicitor. The Court did not have to decide whether the reasonable adjustment duty applied to the exam's time requirement.
- Roberts v North West Ambulance Service - an EAT decision on being able to stick to a particular seat despite a hot-desking arrangment, by way of reasonable adjustment. Some people who stammer may also find this a useful adjustment.
- Equality Bill receives Royal Assent to become the Equality Act 2010.
- Update on 'special measures' to support certain witnesses in criminal cases in England and Wales, following new Ministry of Justice circular.
- Employment: discrimination by association and perception updated to reflect Coleman appeal being settled out of court, so Employment Appeal Tribunal decision stands, re-interpreting existing law to include discrmination by association.
- Equality Bill Lords Report Stage, 2nd March - 'substantial' is being expressly defined (important for both definition of disability and reasonable adjustments), and Bill will make clear that education reasonable adjustment duty is anticipatory.
- Equality Bill changes at Lords Committee Stage so far included further changes on pre-employment enquiries, new duty on schools regarding auxiliary aids and services, exam boards, and new clause on cost of reasonable adjustments.
- Reasonable adjustment examples added: Private phone calls, Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures, and Job / Person specs.
- Draft Codes of Practice issued for consultation by the EHRC, based on the Equality Bill. One is on 'Employment', and one on 'Services, Public Functions and Associations'. 'Education' to follow shortly.
- Shirlow v Translink - Northern Ireland case on stammering (2008). The tribunal held that the claimant's stammer was a disability. However, there was no breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments, partly because the employer could not reasonably be expected to know of his disability.
- DWP v Alam - the EAT has disagreed with a previous decision which had apparently made it harder for an employer to rely on the 'lack of knowledge' defence where he fails to make a reasonable adjustement.
- Case on volunteers - the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that an unpaid volunteer who did not fall within the DDA was not brought within it by the European Framework Employment Directive. Note that some volunteers do fall within the DDA.
- Discrimination by association: EAT decision - the Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed that the courts can read wording into the DDA to cover direct discrimination and harassment by reason of a third person's disability.
- Allowing extra time at interview - greater discussion of this, including suggestion to schedule interview at end of a session with no further appointments after it.
- Amnesty International v Ahmed - the EAT held there was direct discrimination even if the employer had 'benign' motives for not appointing a person on the prohibited ground. In this case it was their ethnic origin.
- New compensation levels ('Vento bands') for injury to feelings, increased to reflect inflation, have been set by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Da'Bell v NSPCC.
- Chief Constable of Dumfries & Galloway v Adams - nightshift working can be a 'normal day-to-day activity'. so substantial effects of an impairment during night shifts can make it a 'disability' within the DDA. The case also considers the European Court decision of Chacón Navas.
- Stockton on Tees Borough Council v Aylott - the Employment Appeal Tribunal considered direct discrimination claims based on stereotypical assumptions, and also found that the House of Lords decision in Malcolm extends to employment, limiting claims for disability related discrimination.
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Last updated 5th April 2018