News and Events

Knowledge of Disability

  • Posted

When a tribunal’s decision on disability discrimination included a summary that incorrectly stated the legal tests for knowledge of disability, was the decision unsafe?

Not in the circumstances of this case, held the EAT in Lingard v Leading Learners Multi-Academy Trust.

The Claimant was a head teacher, she won a constructive unfair dismissal claim, losing on disability discrimination. The tribunal found that the Respondent had not known that the Claimant was disabled, so was not liable for any discrimination. In the judgment, a summary of the law on knowledge of disability for sections 13, 15 and 20 of the Equality Act was incorrect, but other areas of the judgment contained the correct tests. The Claimant appealed, alleging that the tribunal mis-directed itself and its decision was perverse.

The EAT rejected the Claimant’s appeal; the proper tests for knowledge had been set out and discussed in the tribunal’s reasons. The EAT noted "the fact-sensitive nature of a tribunal’s determination as to actual and constructive knowledge (of disability) is not generally fertile ground for a successful appeal".

Thanks to Ed McFarlane for preparing this case summary.