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Disability Discrimination

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Thanks to Louise Jones of 1 Temple Gardens for providing this summary.

In Lincolnshire Police v Weaver, the EAT reaffirmed that employers can have regard to factors outside those of an individual employee when deciding whether an adjustment is reasonable under the DDA 1995.

As a police officer of over 30 years’ experience, the Claimant was entitled to apply to a ‘Thirty+ Retention Scheme’, which allowed a pension to be claimed, but the individual’s employment to carry on favourable terms.

The Claimant’s disability had taken him from the role of a fully operational officer to an office-based post, which was essentially a post of restricted duties, before he became eligible for the Scheme. The way in which the Respondent applied the Scheme to him was such that, as an officer on restricted duties, he was not permitted access to the Scheme, as his departure might enable another officer to take up that post.

Elias P. held that the tribunal approached the ‘reasonable adjustment’ question incorrectly, as it did not take into account the wider implications of making the adjustment (which in the instant case meant admitting the Claimant onto the Scheme).

The tribunal was under an obligation, the EAT said, to engage with the wider operational objectives of the Respondent and, in particular the desire to liberate posts for restricted officers. Indeed, the wider approach was one suggested by paragraph 5.42 of the Disability Rights Commission Code of Practice: Employment and Occupation [2004]. Further, the tribunal had erred in having regard to the fact that the Respondent had deliberately adopted a policy which operated to the disadvantage of disabled people. The EAT found this could not be a relevant consideration.