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disability Discrimination: Meaning of 'Day to Day' Activities

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 Thanks to Ed McFarlane of Deminos HR for preparing this case summary

Are 'warehouse operations', such as manually lifting and moving cases of up to 25 kg, 'normal day-to-day activities' for the purposes of disability under the Equality Act 2010?

Yes, held the EAT overturning an employment tribunal's decision in Banaszczyk v Booker.

The Claimant, a picker in a distribution centre, had been found not to be disabled at a preliminary hearing. The Employment Judge, having accepted medical evidence regarding the Claimant's long-term back condition, considered that it did not have a substantial adverse effect on his carrying out 'normal day-to-day activities' as its impact was limited to manual lifting of items of up to 25kg at work, which the Employment Judge regarded as not being a 'normal day-to-day' activity.

The EAT disagreed, noting that the scope of 'normal day-to-day activities' extended to warehouse work (and work generally). So, on the evidence accepted by the employment tribunal, the only conclusion was that the Claimant was a disabled person.

The EAT cautioned against regarding a work rate, such as a warehouse 'pick rate', as an impaired activity, e.g. a target of moving 210 cases per hour, but rather to look at the impairment of the activity itself, e.g. the lifting and moving of cases.