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Case law: Employers reminded that type 2 diabetes can be a disability for purposes of discrimination law

Employers should consider whether employees with type 2 diabetes are disabled for discrimination law purposes, even if they are currently able to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Legal Alert

This update was published in Legal Alert - February 2017

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

An employee was dismissed. He had type 2 diabetes and argued that this meant he was disabled and his dismissal was discriminatory.

An employee is disabled for discrimination purposes if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. 'Long-term' usually means 12 months.

In this case, the Employment Tribunal (ET) decided he was not disabled on the basis of two medical reports. On appeal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the employee's type 2 diabetes was a progressive condition. It ruled that if the medical evidence indicated there was a chance that the diabetes was likely to have a substantial and long-term effect on the employee's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, it could be a disability even if it did not have that effect at the time of the dismissal.

As the medical evidence was not clear on this point and the ET had misinterpreted it, the issue was sent back to the ET for reconsideration.

Operative date

  • Now

Recommendation

  • Employers should consider whether employees with type 2 diabetes are disabled for discrimination law purposes, even if they are currently able to carry out normal day-to-day activities

Case ref: Taylor v Ladbrokes Betting & Gaming Ltd UKEAT/0353/15/DA

Disclaimer: This article from Atom Content Marketing is for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.