Employment Cases Update

Elliott v Dorset County Council UKEAT/0197/20/LA

Date published: 03/05/2021

Appeal against the ET’s decision determining that the Claimant was not a disabled person. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant, who worked for the Respondent, faced disciplinary charges, during which he was assessed to establish whether he was on the autistic spectrum. The diagnosis was confirmed and, in the Claimant's proceedings before the ET, there was a preliminary hearing to determine whether he was disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. The ET concluded that the Claimant was not disabled, because his impairment did not have a "substantial" adverse impact on his ability to carry out day-to-day activities. The Claimant appealed on grounds including that the ET erred in its approach by wrongly focusing on what he could do, rather than addressing the activities that he said he could not do in consequence of his accepted condition.

The EAT held that the ET erred in law by not sufficiently identifying the day-to-day activities that the Claimant could not do, or could only do with difficulty, to found a proper analysis; further, the ET excessively focused on coping strategies, or the Claimant making "reasonable adjustment" for himself, without considering whether any coping strategies might break down in certain circumstances; and, in considering whether the adverse effects of the impairment were "substantial", the ET excessively relied on a comparison of the Claimant with the general population, rather than properly applying the statutory definition of "substantial" as more than minor or trivial. Accordingly, the matter would be remitted to a fresh ET for a full reconsideration.

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