Case roundup

This
week’s case roundup

Complaints
must be pleaded
Ahuja v Ingrams (Accountants), All ER(D) 150 (July), 2002, CA

Ahuja
raised a claim of racial discrimination against Ingrams. The details of her
claim were clarified at a preliminary hearing, and she did not allege continuing
acts of racial discrimination.

At
the full hearing, however, she sought to introduce two entirely new instances
of alleged racial discrimination. The tribunal concluded that the original
incident was not attributable to her race.

She
appealed to the EAT, which remitted the two fresh incidents to be considered by
a different tribunal. Ingrams appealed against the EAT’s decision, contending
that these incidents fell outside the tribunal’s jurisdiction because they had
not been pleaded by Ahuja in her originating application, and she had not
sought to amend that originating application.  

The
Court of Appeal allowed Ingrams’ appeal. It was not for the tribunal to use
other alleged incidents, which had not formed the subject of the original
claim, in order to provide a remedy for that claim.

The
court did, however, make it clear that an employment tribunal should be fair
and reasonable when dealing with requests to amend an application.

It
is quite common for an applicant (particularly when unrepresented) to make
further complaints at the tribunal hearing that do not form part of their
original claim.

This
case may go some way towards preventing this in the future.

Failure
to make adjustments unlawful
HM Prison Service v Beart, 2002, All ER (D) 330 (May), EAT

The
importance of giving due consideration to making reasonable adjustments, even
when a disabled employee is facing serious misconduct charges, was highlighted
in this case. HMPS employed Beart as an administrative officer. After some
conflict with her line manager, she went off sick with clinical depression,
which was subsequently found to be work-related.

The
prison’s medical adviser recommended that she should be relocated, but this was
never considered by HMPS. During her absence and while claiming sick pay, HMPS
became suspicious that Beart was working in a local shop. After an
investigation she was dismissed for gross misconduct. She submitted a claim for
wrongful and unfair dismissal, and disability discrimination.

She
argued that HMPS had a duty under s6(1) of the Disability Discrimination Act
1995 to make reasonable adjustments, and should have taken steps to relocate
her.  Failure to do so amounted to
disability discrimination. The tribunal upheld Beart’s claims.

HMPS’
appeal was dismissed. It had not adequately demonstrated to the tribunal that,
because of the disciplinary proceedings, Beart’s relocation was not a
reasonable step for it to have taken. Accordingly, there was no error of law in
the tribunal’s decision.

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