Meier v. British Telecommunications Plc (Court of Appeal, 29 July 2019)

The Court of Appeal in Belfast recently considered a decision of the Industrial Tribunal on the matter of making reasonable adjustment for disability.

By way of background, the Claimant, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia and dyspraxia, is a member of Mensa and a recent computer science graduate. In March 2017, his mother emailed an application to the Respondent on the Claimant’s behalf in response to an advertisement for graduate opportunities. She disclosed that the Applicant was a person with disability who sought to avail of their disability scheme.

The Respondent had guaranteed to interview anyone with a disability whose application met their minimum published criteria for a position. On this occasion, however, the Respondent sought to include a preliminary exam as a sifting exercise. Due to his disability, the Applicant failed to pass this stage. 

The Tribunal… concluded that the reasonable adjustments (that the claimant should not take the [test] or that the score should not count against him) would have removed the substantial disadvantage from which the claimant was suffering. The reasonable adjustments were not impractical; would not have disrupted [the Respondent’s] activities and did not put a strain on [their] resources.

Dismissing the Respondent’s appeal, the Court upheld the decision of the Industrial Tribunal to award the Claimant over £18,400 for loss of earnings and injury to feelings.

What steps has your business taken to ensure you make reasonable adjustment for unseen disability?

By Paul Sullivan FRSA

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