In City of York Council v Grosset the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld a finding that the Claimant was treated unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of his disability but that his dismissal was fair.
The Claimant, Mr Grosset was a teacher. He suffered from cystic fibrosis and was disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. He had shown an 18-rated film to a class of vulnerable 15 and 16 year olds and was dismissed for misconduct. He bought claims of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal. The tribunal found that his actions in inappropriately showing the film arose as a consequence of his impaired mental state. Therefore his dismissal was an unfavourable act which had arisen in consequence of his disability. His s.15 claim succeeded. The tribunal found that the Claimant’s dismissal had been fair.
Both parties appealed.
The employer argued that it was unfair for an employer to effectively lose a discrimination claim because of medical information produced for the tribunal hearing but which was not available at the time of the disciplinary. The tribunal did not find that this was unfair as the employer knows, or should reasonably know, of the employee's disability and is therefore on notice. The employer accepted that it had knowledge of his disability at the relevant time but that it had concluded that the misconduct did not arise in consequence of the disability. The EAT upheld the discrimination claim despite the employer reaosnably concluding that disability was not in play.
The EAT held that the tribunal had taken care to consider the employer’s legitimate interests to protect the children and to ensure disciplinary standards were maintained. The tribunal had carried out a balancing exercise in relation to those aims. The employer’s appeal was rejected.
In relation to the appeal relating to the unfair dismissal claim, the EAT found that the approach taken did not fall outside of the range of reasonable responses and it cited the employer’s decision to carry out the grievance and disciplinary processes separately in support. The Claimant’s appeal was rejected.
This article is not a substitute for legal advice on specific facts and circumstances. It is designed as a free update on the law at the time of publishing. Knight Polson Limited trading as QualitySolicitors Knight Polson accepts no responsibility for reliance on this article and recommends that you seek independent legal advice on your specific circumstances prior to taking any steps.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the contents of the above article, please do not hesitate to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or 023 8064 4822.