The EAT considered, under s.15 EqA (discrimination arising from disability), a case where there were also non-disability-related reasons for dismissal, and where there was no notice of the disability until the internal appeal hearing.
The claimant was dismissed at the end of her six-month probationary period, over five concerns about her performance and behaviour. She was disabled by depression and brought a claim under s.15 EqA. She said it was her depression that gave rise to at least one of the concerns, namely inadequate communication with colleagues.
The EAT held that the ‘something’ arising from her disability, in this case the inadequate communication, only has to have a ‘significant influence’ in causing the unfavourable treatment, ie her dismissal. It does not have to be the sole or principal cause. However if she would have been dismissed anyway that might well be relevant to compensation.
Another issue was whether the employer had notice of the disability. Only at the internal appeal against her dismissal had the claimant indicated that her mental health was fragile. The EAT said notice of the disability at this stage would be sufficient, even though the employer did not have notice of it at the time of the actual dismissal.
The case is Baldeh v Churches Housing Association, www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2019/0290_18_1103.html
- Discrimination arising from disability (EqA s.15)>Some decided cases on only needing a ‘significant influence’, and
- Knowledge of the disability under EqA>Knowledge may arise only at a late stage.