Tribunal mishandled supermarket worker’s disability claim


An employment tribunal failed to correctly deal with a disability discrimination claim brought by an Asda employee, a judge has ruled.

Judge Eady ruled at the Employment Appeal Tribunal that Leicester Employment Tribunal was wrong in the way it limited Mr P T Jamu’s reasonable adjustments claim.

Eady said a complaint about being assigned heavy duties on returning to work after ill health should have been included in the tribunal hearing.

Jamu, who has worked for Asda as a warehouse operative for more than 10 years, brought a number of claims to the Leicester hearing. Disability discrimination was among those taken to the appeal stage.

Eady’s judgment said Jamu was disabled under the terms of the Equality Act 2010 as he suffered stress and depression. He had several health-related absences from work over the winter of 2012-13.

On 16 February 2013, Eady said, Jamu returned to work but complained of being placed on heavy duties.

A meeting was held on 18 March that year to discuss new contractual arrangements – and when Jamu phoned to say he was too ill to attend, a former union officer was appointed as his representative and the meeting went ahead.

Leicester Employment Tribunal, led by Judge Ahmed, ruled that the reasonable adjustments claim related only to the March meeting – but Jamu said he had made it clear that his case included the 16 February incident and another case of heavy duties in June 2013.

Asda insisted that no reasonable adjustments claim was made obvious by Jamu beyond the requirement for him to attend the March meeting. It said the substantive rejection of the reasonable adjustments claim was permissible on the evidence given.

But Eady upheld this ground of appeal.

“The Employment Tribunal erred in failing to address the claimant’s complaint of disability discrimination by reason of a failure to make reasonable adjustments upon his return to work on 14 June 2013,” she said.

Eady remitted the case and gave both parties 14 days to lodge formal representations on disposal.

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