Employment Cases Update

Wheatstone v Blakeney News Food and Wine Ltd and others UKEAT/0287/19/LA

Date published: 24/06/2020

Appeal against the ET’s finding that the unfavourable treatment of the Claimant did not arise in consequence of her disability. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, who worked as an assistant in a village shop operated by the First Respondent (a limited company owned by the Second and Third Respondents), suffered from epilepsy, but this had little effect on her day-to-day activities. Following an argument with the Second Respondent, the Claimant was told to submit her resignation the following day or be dismissed; no form of procedure was followed. Later that day, the Claimant suffered what was described as "a major seizure", and her doctor issued a fit note the following day which noted that she was suffering from "work-related stress". The ET found that the Claimant had been unfairly dismissed and that certain sums that were due as contractual claims and unlawful deduction from wages, but it rejected her claims relating to her admitted disability. The Claimant appealed against the ET's finding that her sickness absence from the day after the argument was not something arising out of her disability.

The EAT held that the ET's finding that the reason for the sickness absence was not the disability but work-related stress was one which was plainly open to it. Having considered all the evidence, the ET was entitled to attach greater weight to the medical evidence, which made no reference to there being a connection between the Claimant's epilepsy and her absence at work; indeed, there was little or nothing in the Claimant's evidence from which a contrary conclusion could have been drawn.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.