DLA to re-defend mental health case following EAT decision

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  • Good for J! More solicitors facing disability discrimination from law firms should come forward. I personally know a handful of depressed solicitors who would benefit from any ruling.

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  • How can her lawyer say that a GP note should be sufficient proof of depression when the law (not their professional ethics) allows GPs to be vague in their diagnosis if they believe it will protect their patient from dodgy employers?
    After many years in HR, and tribunals involving medical cases, I would not trust anything a GP put on a sick note.
    GPs are just general practitioners and do not specialise, so if you want to cover your back you need to get an expert opinion from a consultant in the area concerned; it will cost but not half as much as getting it wrong at tribunal!

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  • I welcome the ruling but I cannot see that this case sets any precedents. There are already instances of claimants recovering damages at tribunal on the basis that their employer failed to make reasonable adjustments for a depressive illness. As I understand it, the issue here is whether J's medical condition amounted to a disability within the meaning of s2 DDA 1995.
    It seems trite to say it, but contributors seem to be missing the point. Whether an individual has a disability or not depends on the day-to-day effect of their condition upon them rather than on the fact that the condition exists. This is not entirely a medical issue. It is possible for family and close friends to give evidence, based on their observations and knowledge of the individual, about the effects of a medical condition upon that individual.

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  • If the condition exists (ie, is diagnosed) but does not materially affect the candidate's abilities on a day to day basis, does this mean they are disabled? If not, then is an employer able to refuse to appoint someone based upon a condition which actually has no effect on the way they do their job?

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  • Yet another absurdity of the disability laws. Why on earth should any employer be forced to take on someone who's depressed and will probably be a negative influence on their co-workers.

    She should sort herself out a large dose of Prozac and pull herself together rather than whingeing to an employment tribunal.

    She might be coyly referred to as `J' here, but word will get round as to who she is and she will then be completely, as against partly unemployable.

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  • City Gent (23 Jun, 6.03pm) - your comments perfectly illustrate the ignorance and stigma that exist regarding mental illness. You are clearly among the very lucky few who have never suffered mental illness or had a close relative or friend who has.

    Employers have a responsibility to support staff with mental illnesses, just as they would for staff with physical illnesses.

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  • I have suffered from Depression for the last 10yrs. In that time I have gained a Law Degree, completed my LPC and Training Contract and am now Head of Personal Injury. I have found it difficult at times when applying for jobs but have ticked the "Are you Disabled" box and when asked what the nature of my disability is I have advised my prospective employed that my disability would got give rise to tham having to make "reasonable adjustments" to accomodate my employment and therefore I would rather not discuss it. I have luckily never been pressed on the issue and have always been successful in securing employment. I feel for those in our industry to have this sometimes debilitating condition and urge people not to be ashamed but not to be to forthcoming either.

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  • City Gent has a point. Win or loose 'J' will have trouble finding work...I can't speak as to whether City Gent agrees with this principle but blacklisting is a tradition upheld by the sanctamonious isn't it.
    Personally though I find it rather ironic that a law firm which can no doubt handle complex and sensative cases is reduced to defending itself against an individual who it would appear felt confident enough to disclose her disability and if we're honest about it would probably fit in to such a firm no differently than an able bodied peron would have done. I certainly would not want the law firm defending me in a DDA case thats for sure!

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