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Focus on Discrimination Cases

24 November 2022

Burke v Turning Point Scotland (2022)

The Employment Tribunal considered a claim by an individual who was claiming to be unfairly dismissed and discriminated against based on disability, amongst other things. The Tribunal found in favour of Mr Burke and held that he had been subjected to discrimination arising from ‘Long Covid-19’. Although Long Covid itself is a relatively new concept, the decision highlights the importance of carefully considering an employee’s symptoms on a case by case basis and how this could be affecting their day to day activities. This decision is the first one to recognise that Long Covid is a condition that is a disability if it meets the criteria set out in the Equality Act 2010. In summary, the condition must be capable of lasting 12 months and have a substantial adverse effect on normal day to day activities.

 

Miles v The Royal Veterinary College (2022)

As seen in recent Tribunal decisions, ethical veganism has been found to be a philosophical belief and therefore afforded protection under the Equality Act 2010, provided it meets certain criteria. This is evidenced by a veterinary nurse who was summarily dismissed after she was arrested for alleged burglaries, including stealing a turkey called ‘Dorothy’. She claimed she had been discriminated against and unfairly dismissed because of her veganism. Whilst the Tribunal did not disagree that ethical veganism was a philosophical belief, it rejected her claim concluding that her ‘belief that she was morally obliged to take positive action to prevent or reduce the suffering of animals, which included trespass and removal of animals and its manifestation was not a philosophical belief’. As this area of law continues to develop, it’s important employers keep abreast of changes!

 

Robson v Clarke’s Mechanical Ltd (2022)

In this case the Tribunal considered whether a plumber and heating engineer, referred to by colleagues as ‘half dead Dave’, had been discriminated against when he was made redundant at the age of 69. The company was found to not only have failed on ‘every test of fairness’ in their selection of the Claimant, but also there was inappropriate and offensive ‘nicknames’  used in the workplace. The Claimant’s colleagues attempted to brush the comments off as ‘banter’, but the Tribunal held it was enough to establish direct discrimination and the Claimant was awarded £24,926.14 to compensate him for his claims for unfair dismissal and unlawful discrimination. It is important to ensure you have policies and training in place so employees know what is not acceptable behaviour in the workplace. Contact us if you need help with training your staff or developing your policies.

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