Legal News

A police force succeeded in showing it was justified in withdrawing an officer with defective colour vision from firearms duties, but not in withdrawing him from rapid response vehicle driving.

This was an indirect sex discrimination claim, on the basis that many more men than women have colour vision defects, rather than disability discrimination.

The claimant was withdrawn from firearms duties when guidelines changed in 2017 to require those who failed the Ishihara test to pass both the Farnsworth D-15 test (which he had passed) and the City University 2nd edition test (which he had not). He did later pass he City test and was reinstated in firearms, but he claimed indirect sex discrimination for the interim period.

His claim failed as regards the firearms duties, but succeeded as regards being withdrawn from rapid response vehicle driving.

The tribunal made interesting comments about compromises that might be permissible given the imprecision of tests and lack of full research.

However the decision should be approached with caution since it is only an employment tribunal decision and so is not a precedent.

The case is Wisbey v Commissioner of the City of London Police, and College of Policing, Employment Tribunal, 2019

More: Health and safety as a justification for disability discrimination>Wisbey case.