Employment Cases Update

University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust v Burns UKEAT/0242/19/RN

Date published: 10/08/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision granting the Claimant’s application to amend her disability discrimination claims, and refusing the Respondent’s application for the ET to recuse itself. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, a healthcare assistant, had been absent for six months owing to ill-health, and she was dismissed by the Respondent on grounds of capability. Before the hearing of the internal appeal against dismissal, she presented claims in the ET for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination; the Claimant's internal appeal was subsequently dismissed, and the decision to dismiss her was upheld. At the Full Merits Hearing, the ET permitted the Claimant, a litigant in person, to amend her claims under sections 15 and 21 of the Equality Act 2010, to embrace the decision on the appeal against dismissal, and the Respondent made an application for the ET to recuse itself on the grounds of apparent bias. When the ET declined to recuse itself, the Respondent appealed against both the decision to amend the application and the ET's refusal to recuse itself.

The EAT held that the ET's conduct in relation to raising the matter of the amendment would not be viewed by an informed observer as apparent bias, and that the granting of the amendment still left the Respondent fully able to defend its case in relation to the Claimant's claims on their merits.

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