Employment Cases Update

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust v Jackson & Anor (Disability Discrimination - Reasonable adjustments) [2018] UKEAT/0068/17

Appeal against a finding that both Respondents had been in breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments, the First Respondent was in breach of section 15 of the EA and the Second Respondent had unfairly constructively dismissed the Claimant. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant was training to be a Consultant Anaesthetist until she suffered an anaphylactic reaction while working in the intensive care unit. She was diagnosed as suffering from an allergy to latex and it was accepted all round that as a consequence she was "disabled" for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. Health Education England ("HEE"), the body responsible for training within the NHS, wrote to her saying (in effect) that she would not be able to complete her training. After bringing an unsuccessful grievance, she resigned from her employment with the NHS Trust. She won her claims of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal, the ET upholding her claims on the basis (in effect) that it ought to have been possible somehow to continue her training within the NHS and that the Respondents had not done enough to investigate matters. The Respondents appealed.

The EAT allowed the appeal. The ET had treated the NHS as a single entity and failed to have proper regard to the specific legal functions and powers of the two Respondents; as a consequence the ET had (a) imposed liability on both of them indiscriminately without any separate consideration of their respective positions, (b) decided that it would have been a reasonable adjustment on the part of both of them to provide training and work in a latex free hospital when the First Respondent had no control over any hospital and the Second Respondent had no control over those of other Trusts and no control over where the First Respondent required the Claimant to carry out her training, and (c) apparently decided that they should both make adjustments in relation to exams or other speciality training requirements when neither of them had control over these matters.

Employment Claims without a Lawyer 2nd edition published March 2018

Read the full text of the judgment on Bailii