Equal Treatment Bench Book
On 24th February 2021 a new edition of the Equal Treatment Bench Book (judiciary.uk) was published. It is excellent that this includes four pages specifically on stammering (from page 445). Stammering was not in there before. That is now the official guide for judges on dealing with people who stammer in court, whether as witnesses, defendants or litigants in person. This new edition is not yet reflected on my Appearing in court page.
Uber v Aslam case on self-employed workers. The Supreme Court held Uber drivers (in London) were “workers”, and therefore entitled to the national minimum wage, paid holiday and whistleblowing protection. The court downgraded the importance of the written documents (controlled by the ’employer’) in deciding whether someone is a worker, and emphasised that employers cannot ‘contract out’ of employment rights.
Also Employees, workers and beyond updated to include Uber v Aslam, the EU Court decision in Yodel in 2020, and Turner v DPD below. Both the Uber decision and Yodel might be seen as making it less likely that an individual’s right to substitute someone else to do the work will necessarily mean they don’t fall within the Equality Act, or qualify as a ‘worker’. It remains to be seen whether there is any change to the UK approach on this. Turner v DPD, a case specifically on a right of substitution, is due to be heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in March 2021.
Examples of reasonable adjustments: Recruitment
Examples of reasonable adjustments: Recruitment page reviewed and updated.
NHS Stammering Network
NHS Employee Stammering Network added to Employment Stammering Networks. Website due in April.
Igweike v TSB Bank
2019 EAT decision in Igweike v TSB Bank added, on what is a “disability”. The EAT followed the Paterson decision. The tribunal should consider the effect of the impairment on that individual’s abilities. It should not compare the person’s (absolute) level of skills with that of others, including fellow workers. However it might be helpful to look at fellow workers doing similar jobs or tasks in deciding what relative difference in abilities should be seen as within normal variations of people without an impairment.
Ridout case – constructive knowledge
Ridout v TC Group (1998) page expanded, and added to Knowledge of disability>Constructive knowledge. In this old case, a job applicant disclosed she had photo-sensitive epilepsy controlled by medication. The EAT upheld the Industrial Tribunal decision that her reasonable adjustment claim failed, because the employer could not reasonably be expected to know that the lighting arrangements at the interview were likely to put her at a substantial disadvantage.
Sources of help and advice
Sources of help and advice page partially updated, including:
- United Legal Access unitedlegalaccess.com, a group of volunteer lawyers providing free initial legal advice online, including on employment law;
- Video: 15 ways to get FREE legal advice by Daniel Barnett, an employment barrister;
- Advocate (formerly the Bar Pro Bono Unit) no longer requires a referral. One can apply direct.
Insurance cover in service provider cases
For cases against service providers, broadly speaking the lack of Qualified One Way Cost Shifting (QOCS) may leave claimants exposed to the other side’s legal costs unless the case stays in the Small Claims Track. To help with this Fry Law have worked with an insurance company to create a new insurance policy that can help: Legal firm’s insurance link-up could open access to Equality Act justice (disabilitynewsservice.com), September 2020. Linked from my page Complaints and going to court: services>Going to court.
Partial update of Face masks/coverings and stammering, including:
- Link to Which guide Clear face masks: what to know before you buy (which.co.uk) added to ‘Experimenting, transparent face mask, or “I stammer” mask or card?’ section;
- Type II face mask and visor/goggles no longer stated by Covid-19 secure guidance to be mandatory in law for close contact services, but still recommended;
- update of links to face covering regulations in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
2011 Guidance on definition of disability
2011 Guidance on definition of disability reviewed and updated. For example there is a new summary, it no longer focusses on comparing the 2011 Guidance with the 2006 Guidance, Brexit is taken into account, and it reflects updates to various other pages.
‘Disability Confident’ and guaranteed interviews reviewed and updated. Employers at level 3 must now publicly report on their disability employment (gov.uk).
Examples of jobs
- Further links on US President Joe Biden:
- Biden’s inauguration sparks media interest (stamma.org), Jan 2021, with links to stammering-related coverage,
- How Joe Biden overcame his stutter to fulfil the American Dream (gq-magazine.co.uk) Jan 2021
- Becoming a doctor with a stammer (bma.org.uk), Feb 2021
- Studying medicine with a stammer (blogs.bmj.com), 2019 – by a third year medical student
- Kendrick Lamar (stutteringhelp.org) – rapper
- Jazz musician: Learning to live with my stammer (stamma.org), Feb 2021
- Doctor (pulmonologist): My story of stammering & social anxiety (stamma.org), January 2021
- Felicity Baker, BBC news journalist: report by her Stammering: ‘I thought it made me a failure’ (bbc.co.uk) and article Stammering makes the headlines (stamma.org), both January 2021.
- Finding Mark Jones, the angry Wales hardman whose self-loathing drove him to acts of violence (walesonline.co.uk), January 2021
Reasonable adjustment rules
Reasonable adjustment rules: employment reviewed and updated, including:
- new Summary
- What is a “provision, criterion or practice” (PCP)?
- Substantial disadvantage, and
- Time limits.
Interim relief for Equality Act claims – continuing the employment of someone who has been dismissed pending a final tribunal decision – is not currently available but may become so depending on the case of Steer v Stormsure. This case was decided by the EAT in December and is going to the Court of Appeal.
- Previous updates: Website updates November to December 2020.