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Discrimination arising from a disability is not a ‘but for’ test

16 July 2020 #Employment


In Robinson v Department for Work and Pensions, the Claimant brought a claim for discrimination arising from a disability relating to the way the DWP handled her disability.

The Claimant suffered from blurred vision, a disability which caused migraines when the Claimant used computer software required by the DWP.  The DWP made adjustments for the Claimant but there were technical difficulties and delays in doing so.

The ET upheld the Claimant’s claim but this was overturned by the EAT, with which the Court of Appeal agreed.  In its Judgment the Court of Appeal said that the correct test is whether the Claimant was treated unfavourably “because of” something arising from her disability – requiring the ET to examine the thought-processes (conscious or unconscious) of the alleged discriminators.   It was not enough for the Claimant to demonstrate that “but for” her disability, she would not have been in the unfavourable situation.

This judgment provides clarity on the way in which the ET must approach claims for discrimination arising from a disability, which includes consideration of the reason for the unfavourable treatment. 

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at employmentunit@clarkslegal.com by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
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Ciara Duggan

Ciara Duggan
Paralegal

E: cduggan@clarkslegal.com
T: 020 7539 8052
M: 0778 665 5903

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