- Direct discrimination wide enough to include treatment due to perceived disability (Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey)
- What are the practical implications of this decision?
- What is the relevant background?
- Background law
- Background facts
- The decision of the employment tribunal
- The decision of the EAT
- What did the Court of Appeal decide?
- Case details
Employment analysis: Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010) is wide enough to cover less favourable treatment by an employer because of their perception that an applicant has a protected characteristic, such as a disability. Whether the employer perceives the applicant to be disabled will depend on whether they believe them to have an impairment with the features that are set out in the legislation, ie whether they believe the components of the legal test for disability are met on the facts, even if the employer is mistaken in that belief. The employer’s personal knowledge of the legislative provisions is irrelevant. Since, under EqA 2010, Schedule 1, paragraph 8, disability can include progressive conditions, a decision to refuse employment to an applicant because of a stereotypical assumption that adverse effects arising from their physical impairment will worsen and become substantial, leading to a perceived risk of future inability to work in a particular role, can amount to unlawful direct discrimination because of disability, according to the Court of Appeal.
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