Ahmed v DWP

MILS clients will be aware that there is a specific statutory test for a Claimant employee to prove they are disabled in the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.  Essentially, a Claimant has to show that they suffered from a physical or mental impairment which had a substantial adverse effect on day-to-day activities and was long-term.  As you can imagine there are many cases and arguments about the various components/parts of that definition but that is the test that the Claimant has to prove.  Also relevant is the date on which the Claimant would have to prove they were disabled under the Equality Act 2010.  If, for example, someone is dismissed and they argued disability discrimination from the dismissal, then whether or not they were disabled at the time of the dismissal would be the relevant date.

In Ahmed v DWP the Employment Appeal Tribunal found that the Tribunal had erred, when assessing whether the Claimant was disabled, by using a 3-day date window.  The Claimant claimed that he had various health conditions (which were argued to be disabilities) and spanned 2020 to 2022.  He alleged various acts of disability discrimination arising from this period of time which ended in his dismissal in 2022.  The Tribunal decided that the question of whether or not he was disabled for one of his claims should be assessed over a 3-day date window in 2020 in relation to whether or not he was disabled by being depressed.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal held this window was far too narrow and that the relevant time for assessing disability in this case was the date of the various alleged discriminatory acts and these had taken place over many years and not just the 3 days the Tribunal had chosen.

The case is a reminder of the minefield that employers face when defending disability discrimination claims and the increasing flexibility of the law in assessing whether or not an employee is disabled.