The EAT has upheld a tribunal decision that a dismissal due to long-term sickness absence was justified even though the employer had failed to make a reasonable adjustment of extending time to appeal against the dismissal, since she would still have been dismissed.
The tribunal had found the internal appeal would not have altered the employer’s decision to dismiss the claimant. Therefore the failure to extend the time to appeal – though required as a reasonable adjustment – did not mean the dismissal was disproportionate under s.15 EqA (discrimination arising from disability).
S.15 and reasonable adjustments are different claims under the EqA. However the EAT said that failure to make a reasonable adjustment which would have prevented or minimised the unfavourable treatment (here the dismissal) was likely to lead to a successful claim under s.15, because the employer’s actions were likely to be disproportionate as well.
On the facts, her claim for unfair dismissal also failed.
That did not affect the fact that she succeeded in her reasonable adjustment claim for failure to extend the time limit.
The case is Knightley v Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2022/63.html.