N v Packaging Automation: need for evidence that the stammer is a disability
In N v Packaging Automation, 2021, a worker with a stammer was dismissed and claimed disability discrimination. The employment tribunal held he did not have a disability within the Equality Act. His stammer sounded only slight. The tribunal acknowledged that a stammer may also have hidden effects. However in this case the tribunal did not have sufficient evidence that the stammer had a more than minor or trivial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. (This decision highlights the need to present sufficient evidence that the stammer is a disability.)
Stamma (the British Stammering Association) has issued a Press statement (mynewsdesk.com) in response to this tribunal decision. Among other things it encourages people bringing stammering discrimination claims to get a report from a speech and language therapist, and seek legal advice and work with Stamma to prepare appropriate evidence of the impact of their stammer. “This way future judgments can reflect the reality of the lives of people who stammer.”
Proving disability: impact statements and expert reports
Proving disability: impact statements and expert reports page reviewed and updated following the N v Packaging Automation decision.
The page now includes a new section Showing the Equality Act requirements are met.
Stott v Ralli: internal appeal decisions as separate acts
In Stott v Ralli the EAT held that in deciding whether there is a breach of s.15 EqA (discrimination arising from disability), the dismissal itself is separate from any later internal appeal decision on it. The tribunal claim in this particular case only covered the original dismissal, at which time the employer had no knowledge of the disability. So the claim failed.
Claimants should ensure their s.15 claim includes not only the dismissal but also subsequent appeal decisions etc by the employer. The same is likely to apply to other types of unfavourable treatment where there is a subsequent internal grievance/appeal decision. Also the same principle applies to claims for direct discrimination under s.13 EqA.
Fresh BSL claim for COP26?
Deaf activists are looking to bring a further disability discrimination claim against the UK government after the Prime Minister appeared without a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, and for other broadcasts which had no BSL. Deaf people affected can register online to be part of a case for compensation. More: R (Rowley) v Minister for the Cabinet Office>Fresh BSL claim for COP26?
MM & DM (old case)
2015 Upper Tribunal decision added on existing page for MM & DM v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
- Previous updates Website updates September to October 2021.