Employment Cases Update

Iceland Foods Ltd v Stevenson UKEAT/0309/19/RN

Date published: 01/07/2020

Appeal and cross-appeal against the ET’s decision upholding the Claimant’s claim of disability discrimination but rejecting her claim of “ordinary” unfair dismissal. Appeal and cross-appeal allowed.

The Claimant, who worked for the Respondent, suffered an injury, unrelated to her work, which rendered her disabled. After a long period of absence, she was dismissed, and she brought claims in the ET for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal. The ET upheld the disability discrimination claim, finding that the Claimant's dismissal following a long period of sickness-related absence constituted unfavourable treatment because of something arising in consequence of her disability, but it rejected her unfair dismissal claim on the basis that dismissal was within the range of reasonable responses open to the Respondent. The Respondent appealed against the finding of disability discrimination, asserting that the ET's finding that the dismissal was "fair" should have led it to conclude that the dismissal was justified; and the Claimant cross-appealed, arguing that there was inconsistency between the two sets of findings such that the ET should have concluded that the dismissal was unfair.

The EAT upheld the Respondent's appeal on the basis that the ET erred in law in failing to examine objectively the justification advanced at the date of the hearing; and it upheld the Claimant's cross-appeal, since there was an error of law in the approach taken by the ET. Accordingly, the matter would be remitted to a fresh ET for rehearing.

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