Tribunal’s approach to Disability

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What is necessary to show a disability and how far does a tribunal have to go to assist a Claimant?

In Joseph v Brighton & Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust Mr Joseph (who was not legally represented) failed to adduce evidence to cover all of the ingredients for a disability under Section 6 Equality Act, which are:

  • a physical or mental impairment
  • that has a substantial adverse effect on ability to undertake normal day to day activities, and
  • which is ‘long term’ (meaning that it has lasted or is likely to last more than a year)
  • However, documents in a 580 page bundle that was before the tribunal were relevant to these questions, but the tribunal did not consider them. Mr Joseph complained the tribunal should have been more proactive and inquired further by looking at these documents.

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed, saying that the tribunal’s duty to assist an unrepresented Claimant did not require it to go this far.

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