Legal News

An employer who failed to make reasonable enquiries as to whether the claimant had a disability was held not to have constructive knowledge of it under s.15 EqA because the enquiries would not have revealed the disability.

The claimant was dismissed for poor attendance and poor time-keeping. The poor attendance was due to mental and psychiatric impairments which were a disability.

She claimed discrimination arising from disability under s.15 Equality Act. However the employer argued it did not know of the disability at the time of dismissal. The claimant gave physical ailments as the reasons for her absences.

The employment tribunal held the employer had enough evidence that it should have made enquiries into her mental health. However even if the employer had made further enquiries, the claimant would have continued to suppress information concerning her mental health problems, and would not have entertained an OH referral or other medical examination which might expose them.

On these facts the Employment Appeal Tribunal held the employer did not have constructive knowledge of the disability. The question under s.15 is what the employer could reasonably have been expected to know. In this case further enquiries would not have given the employer knowledge of the disability.

The case is A Ltd v Z, EAT, 2019

More: Knowledge of the disability under EqA.