13 December 2013: Under the Equality Act, employers have an obligation to consider and implement reasonable adjustments to facilitate disabled employees in their role.
It is not always clear if someone is disabled, and the employers obligation to make reasonable adjustments only arises when the employer is aware or should reasonably be aware that of the disability.
In Gallop v Newport City Council, (Court of Appeal), Mr Gallop was diagnosed with depression as a result of work related stress. Newport CC got an Occupational Health Report which claimed he was not disabled under the Act, so they sacked him.
The Court of Appeal stated it is for the employer to make a factual judgment on disability and cannot simply “rubber stamp” an external opinion from an Occupational Health Adviser. Newport had actual or constructive knowledge of the condition and so should have considered reasonable adjustments.
The prudent approach for employers is to consider reasonable adjustments, just in case a medical condition amounts to a disability under the Equality Act. If considering dismissal of someone with an ongoing medical condition, get legal advice first.
Reculver Employment Solicitors and Lawyers. Central London