• Robert Spicer

Disability: burden of proof


Burden of proof

Case Bennett v Mitac Europe Ltd EA-2020-000349-LA

Facts B and his manager were employed by M. The manager became disabled, suffering from cancer. The employer decided to cease the work done by the manager and by B. Both were dismissed. B complained of direct disability discrimination. The employment tribunal (ET) ruled that the burden of proof had shifted to M to show that it had not discriminated against B because of the manager’s disability. M had discharged that burden and had shown that B was not subjected to direct discrimination. B appealed to the EAT.

Decision 1. The appeal was allowed.

2. The ET, through a limited analysis, had been wrong to decide that the burden of proof had been discharged.

3. The decision-maker had not been called to give evidence.

4. The ET had been wrong to hold that for a disability such as cancer, deemed or actual knowledge of the disability required a medical diagnosis.

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