The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a candidate for a job with Asperger’s syndrome was discriminated against when doing a Situational Judgement Test (SJT).
The applicant, Terri Brookes, was among thousands of applicants for just 35 vacancies at The Government Legal Service (GLS) and was required to take the SJT test as part of first stage of her application. Representing herself before the Tribunal she argued that the ‘black and white’ nature of the test answers placed her at a disadvantages.
The GLS argued that the SJT test was an appropriate method of testing qualities relevant to the job, law graduate Brookes scored 12 out of 22 correctly, a score of 14 was needed to pass. She argued that short written answers, rather than multiple choice, would have been appropriately suited to her condition.
The Tribunal agreed with the GLS that the method of testing was a useful and fair way of deciding the best candidates but concluded that it was not appropriate in this particular case. It was indirectly discriminate towards her by not adjusting to her disability. The GLS did appeal this decision but the EAT agreed with the original outcome.
The Judge, Mr Justice Kerr said on the matter: “The tribunal was right to ask itself why, and was entitled to find that a likely explanation could be found in the fact that she had Asperger’s, and the additional diffuclty that would place her under because of multiple-choice format of the SJT.”
The National Autistic Society gave this advice to recruiters: Avoid hypothetical or abstract questions as they can be interpreted literally and not give someone with Asperger’s a fair go at the test.
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