Direct disability discrimination occurs where an employer treats a disabled person less favourably because of his or her health condition. In the case Gallop v Newport City Council, the Employment Appeal Tribunal had to decide how much actual knowledge of a disability an employer needed in order to be held liable for direct disability discrimination.
Gallop, who worked for Newport City Council, suffered from stress and went off sick on a number of occasions between August 2005 and January 2008. He was then suspended on allegations of misconduct and dismissed in May 2008.
He claimed he had been unfairly dismissed, and that his employer had discriminated against him. He lost his unfair dismissal claim, but he also lost his disability discrimination claim, on the basis that his employer was not aware of his disability. The local authority had relied on an occupational health report which said he was not disabled and had not tried to make any further enquiries. This point went to the Court of Appeal, which said that employers should not blindly follow reports from occupational health advisers.
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