The EAT held that work-related stress may be long-term even if the worker is dismissed within 12 months after it started.
The claimant was on sick leave with stress from January 2017 until his dismissal (for long-term sickness absence) in July 2017. The tribunal said the stress was a reaction to specific difficulties in the workplace.
The employment tribunal held it was not a disability within the Equality Act because it was not ‘long-term’.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) overturned the tribunal decision. In deciding whether it was long-term, ie whether it was likely to (in the sense of ‘could well’) last 12 months or recur, a tribunal could not just assume that its duration was limited by the dismissal which (since the stress was work-related) had removed its cause. The tribunal should have looked at what could well happen as at the time of the discriminatory acts.
The case was sent back to the tribunal to reconsider.
The case is Parnaby v Leicester City Council, www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2019/0025_19_1907.html