Department of Work and Pensions v Robinson (Discrimination : Disability): EAT 23 Jul 2019

The employment tribunal had been bound to dismiss the claimant’s claim for discrimination arising from the claimant’s disability. The claimant had a disability which caused her to suffer from migraines caused by computer software, which the respondent unsuccessfully tried to address by use of screen magnification software. The respondent eventually moved the claimant to a paper based role and, the tribunal found, delayed unreasonably in dealing with the claimant’s grievances.
The tribunal must have applied an impermissible ‘but for’ test in finding a breach of section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 through failure to protect the claimant from stress and detriment to her wellbeing and (if they so found) for failure to implement the adjustments recommended.
If (which was unclear) the tribunal meant to uphold the allegation that changing the claimant’s role was a breach of section 15, that conclusion was inconsistent with failure of the reasonable adjustments claim and the respondent’s defence of justification ought to have succeeded.
The tribunal’s reliance on delays in finding a technical solution and in dealing with the claimant’s grievances were not capable of amounting to a breach of section 15, applying the reasoning in Dunn v Secretary of State for Justice [2019] IRLR 298.
The claimant’s cross-appeal was against the tribunal’s rejection on the facts of the claimant’s ‘reasonable adjustments’ claim under section 20 of the 2010 Act. The tribunal found that particular magnification software had been adequately considered. That finding was sound, supported by evidence and not perverse. Nor could the claimant succeed in impugning the tribunal’s conclusion by reliance on evidence that came into existence after the hearing, though before the tribunal gave its reserved decision.
The appeal therefore succeeded and the cross-appeal failed. The appeal tribunal would not remit the case but would substitute a finding that the claim under section 15 must fail. There was no basis for interfering with the tribunal’s decision to dismiss the section 20 claim.
[2019] UKEAT 0021 – 19 – 2307
England and Wales

Updated: 05 March 2021; Ref: scu.642743