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Disability Discrimination

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Did the fact that the Claimant’s conduct was influenced by her disability, of itself, prevent the tribunal from concluding that objective justification was made out in a s15 claim for discrimination arising from disability?

No, held the EAT in Morgan v Buckinghamshire Council.

The Claimant was employed as a supervising social worker. She is disabled because of various conditions, most notably autism. She was dismissed for her conduct having given gifts to a child for whom she was responsible without the authority of her manager and because of the inappropriate content of a case note she had written.

The tribunal found the Claimant had not been unfairly dismissed and the dismissal did not give rise to a section 15 claim on the basis that the sanction was found to be capable of justification.

The Claimant appealed. The EAT dismissed the appeal; the tribunal found the Respondent had reasonably concluded that the Claimant had breached professional boundaries and knew that she needed prior authority for the gifts.

The tribunal had not inferred the Claimant’s refusal to provide consent for an occupational health assessment to be additional conduct nor by its decision did it wrongly penalise the Claimant for her autism, but had merely taken into account how those issues had featured in the case.

Thanks to Kate Lea of didlaw for preparing this case summary.