Disability Discrimination: Disability-Related and Direct
In JP Morgan v Chweidan, the EAT confirmed that where a claim for disability-related discrimination fails, the same facts will not necessarily support a finding of direct discrimination.
Mr Chweidan was unable to work as long hours following a skiing accident. This led to a reduction in his bonus and his subsequent dismissal. The Tribunal found that the Claimant was treated in the same manner as a non-disabled comparator would have been treated and therefore the claim failed. However, the Tribunal found that this treatment amounted to direct disability discrimination instead. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the EAT found this not to be the case, but the case has been sent back to a Tribunal for a determination as to whether there was any other evidence which supports a claim for direct disability discrimination.
The case shows the weakness of the old Disability Discrimination legislation (and perhaps the frustration of the Tribunal who wanted to find in the Claimant’s favour), which following the case of Malcolm made it very difficult for claimants to win in disability-related discrimination claims. This position has now of course been remedied as a result of the Equality Act 2010.
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