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Disability Discrimination: Compensation

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Was capping compensation for two disabled police officers unfavourable treatment under section 15 Equality Act 2010?

Yes, held the EAT in Chief Constable of Gwent Police v Parsons and Roberts.

The two Claimants were in their forties and had between them 41 years of service. They were disabled and in possession of H1 certificates from the force which gave them immediate access to a deferred pension on exit.

Police officers are not employees and cannot be made redundant. However under austerity measures an exit scheme analogous to voluntary redundancy, a VES, was put in place. The Force chose to cap the compensation for the officers at six months' pay instead of 21 and 18 months respectively.

Distinguishing the case from Williams, the EAT held that capping the compensation was clearly unfavourable treatment under section 15 Equality Act 2010. Applying Pnaiser, the treatment was evidently something which arose in consequence of disability: the H1 certificates were issued because of the officers' disablities. In principle preventing a windfall might be a legitimate aim but on the paucity of evidence put forward, the Chief Constable failed to justify the treatment.

This case provides a neat working example of how section 15 works.

Thanks to Karen Jackson of didlaw for preparing this case summary