Legal News

A job applicant with Asperger’s Syndrome did not pass a situational strengths test and so was not put through to the next stage, a Skype interview. His claim for breach of the reasonable adjustment duty succeeded.

The claimant, a computer science graduate, applied for a job with BT. He said in the job application that he had Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia. BT was a ‘disability confident’ employer offering a guaranteed interview for disabled people meeting minimum requirements.

BT required the claimant to take a situational strengths test (SST). He failed this test and so was not put forward to the next stage, a Skype interview.

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal upheld the industrial tribunal’s decision that the employer had failed to make reasonable adjustments: either by not requiring the claimant to sit the SST, or not using the results to stop him proceeding to the Skype interview.

The tribunal was satisfied that BT had the ability to recruit candidates with appropriate competences at the next stage, the Skype interview. Also BT had sufficient notice of the effects of the disability.

It did not matter that only at a late stage had the claimant’s mother suggested a specific adjustment to BT. The employer could not just expect the claimant to propose a reasonable adjustment without itself recognising that it had a duty to consider what adjustments were appropriate. (See further Reasonable adjustments: detailed rules>Onus is on the employer to be proactive.)

The case is British Telecommunications v Meier,

More on this case: Adjustments: What is reasonable?>Unable to do the job?