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Discriminating by dismissing an employee despite the employer not being aware of the employee’s disability

In a recent case, the employer was unaware of an employee’s depression, which is considered to be a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act), until the employer was informed of this in the appeal hearing. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) determined that the dismissal of this disabled employee could be discriminatory.

The tribunal did not consider that the disability could have had an effect on the conduct of the employee, which was the reason the employee was dismissed. The EAT held that the tribunal incorrectly turned down the claim as the employer had not considered the conduct of the employee when dismissing. The tribunal should have taken into account whether the employee’s conduct as a result of the disability had a “material influence” on the dismissal.