Whether lack of knowledge relevant to s.15 justification defence
City of York Council v Grosset>Justification: tribunal entitled to consider medical evidence not available to the employer added to cover a point made more by the EAT than the Court of Appeal. The Grosset case was in 2018. Also changes to Knowledge of causal link with disability under s.15 EqA>Justification defence: the new battleground?
STAMMA case study
Added case study from STAMMA 2021 end of year report: Performance review (stamma.org):
“An adult seeking Universal Credit felt they were discriminated against in a face-to-face assessment because of their stammer, and asked for a paper-based exam. We liaised with the Department for Work & Pensions by phone, email and letter, and the request was finally granted.”
Coronavirus (Covid-19) updated, including for the new guidance from 1st April 2022 in England: Coronavirus (Covid-19)>Links on social distancing guidance in England.
W v TJ Morris (t/a Home Bargains)
In W v TJ Morris (t/a Home Bargains) the claimant had spinal issues and a stammer. Among other things she alleged that the store manager would not allow her to put her case to him, by speaking over her and completing her sentences. It was undisputed that she was disabled, and the tribunal held that as regards the stammer, the employer had sufficient knowledge of her disability to potentially enable her to claim. However her disability discrimination claims failed because the tribunal did not accept the alleged incidents happened.
Also new section of the page on knowledge of disability: Knowledge of disability>Facts of disability: Not necessarily enough to know of the stammer?
Primaz v Carl Room Restaurants t/a McDonald’s Restaurants
In Primaz v Carl Room Restaurants t/a McDonald’s Restaurants, the claimant had epilepsy and vitiligo. From online research she took various steps which she was convinced would help her conditions but were not supported by professional advice, such as avoiding coffee and alcohol, and not exposing her body to cosmetics and cleaning products. The EAT held that these restrictions on her life – due to her unsubstantiated beliefs – were not effects of her epilepsy and vitiligo. Accordingly they were not relevant in deciding whether these conditions had a substantial effect so as to be disabilities within the EqA.
Mallon v Aecom: auxiliary services, and help from others
In Mallon v Aecom, 2021, the claimant had dyspraxia, and argued he should have been allowed a reasonable adjustment of applying for a job orally rather than having to do so online. The EAT held the Employment Tribunal had been wrong to strike out the claim as having no reasonable chance of success. The judge should have considered the possibility that this case was about an auxiliary service, rather than just a PCP. Also tribunals should be cautious in assuming that the possibility of help from others such friends and family was adequate reason not to make a reasonable adjustment. See too My comments on the case, eg on a service provider arguing that someone else could speak for the person who stammers.
Compensation for injury to feelings
Revised ‘Vento bands’ for employment claims started on or after 6th April 2022. These three bands guide employment tribunals on levels of compensation for injury to feelings under the Equality Act.
University and college
New page Examples of adjustments for university students – examples of what universities can do to meet their Equality Act obligations in relation to students who stammer, including prospective students.
Oral exams and assessed presentations, including adjustments substantially revised, including the examples there of how assessments can be altered.
Also revised: University and college, including exams.
“Did I stutter?”
Link to Getting rid of “Did I stutter?” (stamma.org) as to whether the phrase is unlawful harassment at work. Also mention of it in my comments on the Garcia case as to the EAT apparently implying someone who stammers does not have a clear voice.
STAMMA in the cinema: “No diversity without dysfluency”
STAMMA’s ad campaign calling for greater stammering representation in the media is now showing in cinemas across the UK. See STAMMA in the cinema: “No diversity without dysfluency”.
Social model: new research paper
An excellent new research paper discusses both benefits and limitations of understanding stammering through the social model of disability: Social model: new research paper.
Also Reluctance to be seen as “disabled” partially updated.
Garcia v The Leadership Factor: “clear speech” requirement
In Garcia v The Leadership Factor the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld a tribunal decision requiring a claimant who stammers to pay a deposit as a condition of proceeding with his EqA claims. He was claiming direct and indirect disability discrimination in relation to requirements that telephone interviewers have a “clear voice” and be in “good health”. The EAT held the tribunal was entitled to find these claims had little reasonable prospect of success.
Examples of jobs
- Luke Ayling, footballer: “Why am I scared?” – Leeds’ Luke Ayling confronts stammer (bbc.co.uk), video, March 2022
- I’m so glad I ignored the doubts of my 17-year-old self (stamma.org) – final year student nurse, March 2022. “One patient actually said to me, in response to me apologising for stammering: ‘It is the fact that you have a stammer that makes you such a great listener and compassionate nurse’.”
- Meet the stuttering doctor who defeats discrimination (stuttertalk.com, ep.705), Feb 2022 – podcast with family doctor in Nebraska.
Network for educators
Added to Employment stammering networks: network for teachers who stammer, or teaching a child/student who stammers. Includes educators working in a school, nursery, or university. Starting March 2022.
- Previous updates Website updates January to February 2022.