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Lowe v Cabinet Office

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Last updated 18th April 2012.

A claim for reasonable adjustments to an assessment for the Civil Service Fast Stream failed. The claimant had Asperger’s Syndrome. The further adjustments she sought would have meant important competencies concerning relationships and communication were not assessed.

Employment Tribunal, [2011] EqLR 803. ET/2203187/10. Tribunal decision (pdf).

A woman with Asperger’s Syndrome applied for the Civil Service Fast Stream. She had difficulty, for example, interpreting facial expressions and body language, and did not look at people when talking to them. Group discussions were particularly difficult.

The Civil Service exempted her from the online test stages, given her disability. Also, some adjustments to the assessment were agreed by the employer, including extra time and the assessors being aware of various effects of her Asperger’s. She argued that further adjustments should reasonably have been made.

Held by the Employment Tribunal: her claim failed, no further reasonable adjustments should have been made. The further adjustments sought would mean two of the competences being tested would have to be discarded: namely building productive relations and communicating with impact. It was not reasonable to have to adjust the competencies. There was compelling evidence that the competencies were in practice required on a daily basis.

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