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Judge successful in disability discrimination claim against The Secretary of State for Justice

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Disability discrimination in universities

It has been recently reported that a judge has been partly successful in their claim of disability discrimination against The Secretary of State for Justice.

It is understood that a fee paid judge, brought claims of breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments, indirect discrimination, discrimination arising in consequence of disability and harassment. The claimant was successful in part, with the employment tribunal judge finding that some of the claims regarding breach of the duty to make reasonable adjustments and indirect discrimination were well founded and so upheld.

It is understood that the claimant cited dyslexia as a disability, ‘this impacts upon various facets of her everyday working life’. The claimant required a number reasonable adjustments to carry out her role effectively, notably:

  • The provision of voice recognition software to assist in the production of written work, and;
  • Training in relation to ‘proper use of the voice recognition software’.

It was reported that the employment tribunal judge found that the claimant would be placed at a substantial disadvantage if she was required to produce written statements without being provided the voice recognition software, and so her claim for a failure to make reasonable adjustments in this regard was successful.

This judgment demonstrates the legal protection that disabled employees are afforded under the Equality Act 2010. Further, this judgment also highlights the importance of all employers ensuring  that they are aware of their duties to their employees who are deemed has having a disability under the Equality Act. It is key to note that employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments. As the employment judge acknowledged in this matter, an employer ‘is not necessarily or automatically legally required to give the claimant exactly what she wants or asks for’, or are they required to give an employee ‘exactly what is referred to in the occupational health reports unless that follows from the proper application of the statutory framework’. It is vital for an employer to understand that they must take such steps that are ‘reasonable in the circumstances’.

If you feel that you require any advice with regard to any potential discrimination claim, please contact our specialist solicitors in the employment and discrimination law department on 0161 696 6170.

By Jackson Long, employment and discrimination advisor