Phillips v Aneurin Bevan University Local Health Board.
Our Chartered Institute of Personnel and development (CIPD) through their HR inform service have written this extremely interesting case law update in relation to stress being classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 and has some very important information for employers. Full details of the case can be found on the Gov.uk site and the link shown below, and the case law article also shown below with a note for employers.
Read the full decision in Mrs D Phillips v Aneurin Bevan University Local Health Board: 1601375/2022 – Reasons. www.gov.uk
Note for employers – Phillips v Aneurin Bevan University Local Health Board | Consensus HR – Herts, Beds
Whilst only ET, and therefore not binding authority, this case provides a useful test for determining when a mental health issue could be serious enough to be a “disability”. It also opens up the possibility for stress in itself to be a disability, which before this case it was largely assumed it could not be.
Generally, when an employee is struggling with stress making reasonable adjustments is recommended, disability or not, to help with their recovery and allow them to continue working. However, this case shows some employers may be under a duty to put these adjustments in place where an employee’s stress is an impairment that substantially impacts their ability to perform day to day tasks, where that impact has lasted, or is set to last, for 12 months or more.
The law does not require a formal mental health diagnosis to have been made for stress to be a disability, as long as the condition meets the definition of a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA) defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment, that has a substantial and long-term effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
J v DLA Piper (EAT) (2010)
There is no requirement for a mental condition to be a clinically recognised illness for it to qualify as a disability. Instead, whether the condition is a disability depends on whether the symptoms have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
HR Inform – 2023-11 – Case Law
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