The EAT held that as before the Equality Act, conduct does not have the effect of creating a hostile etc environment unless it is reasonable to regard it as doing so.
In Ahmed v Cardinal Hume Academies (bailii.org) the claimant had dyspraxia. Due to pain in his hands, he could only write for a few minutes. He was training as a ‘Teach First’ teacher, and was given a training post at a school.
The school became concerned about his lack of ability to write. The claimant alleged that his treatment by the school at meetings, and being asked to stay at home while the issue was considered, were unlawful harassment contrary to the Equality Act.
The EAT upheld the tribunal decision that there was no harassment. In particular, the EAT said (following a Court of Appeal comment) that despite the Equality Act having different wording from previous legislation, it was still the case that if in all the circumstances it was not reasonable for the employer’s conduct to be seen as having the relevant effect, eg creating a hostile or degrading environment, then the conduct should not be seen as having that effect.
The employment tribunal had however rightly taken into account the perception of the claimant and the other circumstances in reaching its decision.