Categories:Employment,UK

Disability discrimination and reasonable adjustments to sickness absence policies

HR professionals often have to grapple with the question of whether to discount sickness absences for disabled employees in order to avoid falling foul of the duty under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments.

This is particularly so when common viral infections such as colds and flu are exacerbated by a disability such as asthma. In this case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) states that there are ‘two approaches’ that an employer can take when applying a sickness absence policy to make allowances for employees whose disability increases their chances of contracting other ‘ordinary ailments’.

Mrs Whiteley suffered from asthma and, from January to October 2010, had 54 days’ sickness absence, 41 of which were due to ‘acute upper respiratory tract infections’. HMRC’s sickness absence policy was triggered when an employee took more than 10 days’ absence in a rolling 12-month period. HMRC discounted the days’ absence it took into account from 14 to 10 to make an allowance for Whiteley’s disability but this still triggered the policy so she was issued with a warning. The employment tribunal agreed with Whiteley that HMRC had failed to make reasonable adjustments by not discounting all the absences due to a viral infection…

If you are registered and logged in to the site, click on the link below to read the rest of the Walker Morris briefing. If not, please register or sign in with your details below.

Sign in or Register to continue reading this article

Sign in

Register

It's quick, easy and free!

It takes just 5 minutes to register. Answer a few simple questions and once completed you’ll have instant access.

Register now

Why register to The Lawyer

 

Industry insight

In-depth, expert analysis into the stories behind the headlines from our leading team of journalists.

 

Market intelligence

Identify the major players and business opportunities within a particular region through our series of free, special reports.

 

Email newsletters

Receive your pick of The Lawyer's daily and weekly email newsletters, tailored by practice area, region and job function.

More relevant to you

To continue providing the best analysis, insight and news across the legal market we are collecting some information about who you are, what you do and where you work to improve The Lawyer and make it more relevant to you.

Briefings from Walker Morris

View more briefings from Walker Morris

Analysis from The Lawyer

View more analysis from The Lawyer

Overview

Kings Court
12 King Street
Leeds
LS1 2HL
UK
http://www.walkermorris.co.uk

Turnover (£m): 42.50
No. of lawyers: 188