Veale Wasbrough Vizards

UK 200 2013 position: 98

Justification in disability discrimination

By Colin Godfrey

The Equality Act 2010 (EA 2010) makes it unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of a factor arising from their disability, unless the employer can show that the treatment was justified — being a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

The recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in Crime Reduction Initiative v Lawrence is a reminder that when considering justification tribunals should discount any purely procedural errors.

Crime Reduction Initiative v Lawrence concerned an employee absent from work suffering from post-natal depression (accepted as a disability for the purpose of the EA 2010). Following seven months’ absence, the claimant was referred to Occupational Health, which reported that the claimant was still not fit to return to work or undertake interim duties…

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