OSCE exams for healthcare professionals: new guide on adjustments for stammering
STAMMA and the NHS Stammering Network have produced a Job-based oral exam guide (stamma.org), March 2023, mainly for OSCE exams in the health sector.
Anyone who is seeking – or supporting a request for – adjustments to these scenario-based professional exams, in respect of stammering, should be looking at this guide.
As well as a general introduction (for people who stammer), it includes a guide for speech and language therapists etc who are producing a report in support of a request for adjustments.
The guide is not yet reflected on most of my Professional exam bodies web page.
Successful claim on stammering
In A v Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, the claimant’s current role in the NHS involved many phone calls, and his employer had allowed reasonable adjustments in respect of his stammer. Another NHS employer withdrew its job offer for a role which was similar (albeit the calls could be more challenging), saying it could not accommodate his stammer as regards difficulties speaking on the phone in front of colleagues.
The tribunal held that the new employer failed to make reasonable adjustments of having a trial period, offering him an enhanced induction/familiarisation process, and enabling him to work in another office if it was free. The tribunal also upheld a claim of discrimination arising from disability; it would be proportionate to try the claimant in the role with reasonable adjustments in place.
Unsuccessful stammering claim: not enough evidence to find it was a disability
In M v Manchester Rusk Co, the employment tribunal found that the claimant’s stammer was not a disability within the Equality Act. The burden of proof was on the claimant, and he had not presented sufficient evidence to show that his stammer had a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. That was supported by the tribunal’s observation of him in the video hearing, where he stammered very little.
Also added Proving disability: impact statements and expert reports>Observations of tribunal in hearing and made other updates to that page.
Unsuccessful stammering claim: communication style etc
In A v Qualasept the claimant had a stammer and type II diabetes. He was dismissed after a probationary period. Issues were his attendance, communication style (eg tending to argue, upset people), and pace of work. The employment tribunal rejected his claims for race and disability discrimination. As regards his stammer, the tribunal found that criticisms of his communication style did not arise from his stammer. The tribunal also rejected complaints that the employer should have continued to allow a non-workplace friend to attend meetings, and about how a manager reacted to his stammer.
Major review and update of Disability: “Substantial” effect. To be a ‘disability’ within the EqA, the main requirement is for the stammer to have a “substantial” adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
One new section of the page is Reaction of listeners.
- Major update and review of my page on s.60 EqA: Pre-employment enquiries. S.60 limits how far employers are allowed to ask a job applicant about health or disability before making a job offer.
- Added a 2017 employment tribunal decision discussing s.60: O’Sullivan v London Borough of Islington.
The courts take the “Vento bands” into account in deciding the amount of compensation for injury to feelings. These bands have just been updated for employment tribunal claims brought on or after 6th April 2023. See Remedies in employment disputes>Injury to feelings: the ‘Vento bands’.
Reaction of listeners: old case on stammering
In B v Ceredigion County Council, 2013?, the employment tribunal seems to have held that the claimant’s stammer was a disability, and took into account that people with whom he was seeking to communicate could disengage. I haven’t seen the actual tribunal decision.
Physical or mental impairment
Examples of jobs
- With the gift of tongues: clergy who stammer (churchtimes.co.uk), March 2023
- Ken Sema, footballer: Ken Sema: Watford midfielder surprised by reaction to stammer (bbc.co.uk), March 2023
- Previous updates Website updates January to February 2023.