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Disability Discrimination: Establishing Disability

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Can an employee prove disability without leading evidence on the impact of his impairment on normal day to day activities?

Does an employer have constructive knowledge of disability if an employee has denied having one?

No, and not on these facts, held the EAT in Mutombo-Mpania v Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd.

The Claimant worked for an organisation providing casual staff to the Royal Mail Group. On joining he did not indicate disability on his application form and failed to disclose a disability on a health form.

He sought to rely on his impairment of Essential Hypertension to avoid working regular night shifts. Despite medication his symptoms included headaches, fatigue, breathing difficulties and lack of confidence.

The Claimant provided no evidence for the tribunal of the functional impact of his impairment on his ability to carry out normal day to day activities. The burden of proof is on the Claimant to demonstrate substantial adverse effect. He failed to do so and did not meet the section 6 Equality Act 2010 definition.

On the issue of knowledge, even if the employer was under a duty to ask questions, a vague reference to a "health condition" did not infer constructive knowledge. The employee had worked night shifts before and had denied having a disability.

Thanks to Karen Jackson of didlaw for preparing this case summary.