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  • Writer's pictureRobert Spicer

Disability discrimination: reasonable adjustments

DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION Reasonable adjustments Objective assessment Case Thompson v Vale of Glamorgan Council (2021) Morning Star, August 3, Employment Appeal Tribunal Facts Ms T was employed by VGC as a Welsh language teacher in 1999. In April 2013 she was subjected to an informal capability procedure following concerns about her performance. In January 2014 she was placed on formal capability procedure. It was suggested that her performance could be related to her dyslexia and a hearing impairment. Medical reports stated that her conditions were having an adverse effect on her role. In November 2015 the matter was referred to her school’s governing body with a recommendation to dismiss. She was dismissed in February 2016. Her appeal against the dismissal was rejected. She complained to an employment tribunal (ET) of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The ET dismissed the complaints and made the following points: · The reason for the dismissal was her poor performance following a scrupulously fair and honest capability procedure. · Ms T had been given the opportunity to improve her performance and warned that a failure to improve could result in her dismissal. · There was no evidence that her dismissal had been a sham or the result of a conspiracy. Ms T appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), arguing that the ET had not considered evidence that her disability had put her at a substantial disadvantage. Its decision that no reasonable adjustments could have been made should be overturned. Decision 1. The appeal was allowed in part. 2. The ET had not undertaken an objective assessment of the effect of Ms T’s disability on her performance as a teacher. 3. Its conclusion that it was not reasonably necessary to make adjustments could not be supported. It had not assessed the likely effect, cost or practicability of the assessments. 4. The matter was remitted to a fresh tribunal for consideration.

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