Understanding what is classed as a disability

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An employee requires no length of service to bring a claim of discrimination. If an employer loses a tribunal case on the grounds of discrimination, the amount a tribunal can award is unlimited. In a recent case against Swansea University the claimant was disabled and suffering with Tourette’s Syndrome and other conditions when he was exited from the business via ill health retirement.

As a reasonable adjustment his employer reduced his hours to part time to support him in the workplace. The claimant then applied for ill heath early retirement which he was awarded at the age of 38. He was entitled to a lump sum, and annuity payable immediately and this was based on the salary at the time of retirement.

When he brought his claim to the ET he stated that the calculation of his payment was unfavourable as it was only based on his part time hours – which was as a result of his disability. The tribunal agreed however the EAT and court of appeal did not. They stated that the treatment he had received was the immediate award of a pension and had he not been disabled then he would not have been entitled to the pension at all and as such the treatment was not unfavourable.

But what does this mean for your business?

The Equality Act was introduced in 2010 and presents many new rights and responsibilities to protect individuals from discrimination. From this there was additional legislation introduced which for the first time was discrimination arising from a disability and it is these changes which see employers run the most risk of misinterpreting the information and as such falling foul of the law.

Does your business fully understand the implications of the Equality Act and have the knowledge in house to adhere to the legislation? At AdviserPlus HR Advice, our Knowledge Portal gives you access to the Equality Act information which is broken down into an easy and understandable format, highlighting the 9 characterises of unlawful discrimination as well documentation and checklists to assist in the management of adhering to the act. This includes workflow information of dealing with discrimination.

In addition, you could have one to one assistance from our HR Professionals who can discuss your individual business needs, assess risk and coach and support management in becoming fully compliant with the act. For more information contact one of our team on 0844 327 2293 option 1.

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