Cummins Ltd v Mohammed UKEAT/0039/20/OO

Appeal against the ET’s decision upholding the Claimant’s claim of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant, who had worked for the Respondent for more than 25 years, was given a final written warning for aggressive behaviour; shortly thereafter, he was diagnosed as suffering from anxiety and depression and began a period of sick leave. On the advice of his GP, the Claimant travelled to Pakistan, believing that he had the Respondent's permission to do so. When the Claimant was unavailable for a meeting with the Respondent to discuss his occupational therapy report, which appeared to show that he was fit to return to work, the Respondent dismissed the Claimant without notice. The Claimant claimed disability discrimination and unfair dismissal, and the ET upheld his claim, ordering the Respondent to pay compensation including an award for injury to feelings. The Respondent appealed on the grounds that (1) the ET had not properly determined the Respondent's reason for the dismissal, but appeared to have accepted a "but for" analysis of the question of whether the dismissal was because of "something" arising in consequence of disability, and (2) the ET substituted its own decision for that of the employer in concluding that the dismissal was unfair.

The EAT held that the ET erred in law in its approach both to the decision that the Claimant had been dismissed because of "something" arising in consequence of his disability (namely, his visit to Pakistan) and to the decision that he had been unfairly dismissed. Accordingly, the matter would be remitted to a fresh ET for a further full hearing.

Published: 02/06/2021 15:40

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