Northumberland Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust v Ward UKEAT024918DA & UKEAT001319DA

Appeal against the ET’s decisions, as to liability and remedy, upholding the Claimant’s complaints of disability discrimination, failure to make reasonable adjustments and unfair dismissal. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, who suffers from ME/chronic fatigue syndrome ("CFS"), worked for the Respondent for more than 15 years. The disability meant that the Claimant was likely to suffer from more episodes of sickness absence than other employees, and the Respondent adjusted its sickness absence management policy in her favour; however, it abruptly removed the adjustment, meaning that the Claimant was unable to meet the attendance requirements, and she was eventually dismissed. The Claimant brought proceedings under sections 15 and 20 Equality Act 2010 ("EqA 2010") for disability discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments (or, in this instance, removal of an adjustment that had previously been made), and for unfair dismissal; all of these complaints were upheld by the ET and, at a subsequent remedy hearing, compensation was awarded to the Claimant. The Respondent appealed against the liability decision, on grounds including that the ET's decision on the section 20 EqA 2010 claim was inadequately reasoned and that the ET erred in its approach to justification under the section 15 claim, and against the remedy decision on the ground that the ET had erred in its analysis of causation in relation to future loss of earnings.

The EAT held that there was no error in the ET's decision on liability and, as to remedy, there was no inconsistency between the conclusion that the Claimant would have been well enough to return to work after 12 months and the eventual award of two years and nine months' future loss.

Published: 05/11/2019 17:34

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