Mr C Adams was appointed as a probationary police constable in November 2005. In December 2005 he was diagnosed with possible fibromyalgia (pain and stiffness in muscles, ligaments and tendons). He worked a shift system including night shifts.
By early February he was struggling to complete night shifts. Between March and May he worked day shifts only and was free of symptoms, but when he returned to night shifts in May his symptoms returned. He suffered mobility problems for the last two hours of the night shift until his dismissal in February 2007.
Adams claimed disability discrimination. The initial question for the tribunal was whether he was disabled for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995.
The employment tribunal found that Adams was disabled. On appeal to the EAT, the Chief constable argued that the tribunal should have found that Adams was not carrying out normal day-to-day activities when he experienced mobility problems.
The EAT refused the appeal. It said that a question may arise whether work of a particular form can be a normal day-to-day activity and used the example of a skilled watchmaker operating specialised tools to craft fine objects. The EAT said that this would not be a normal day-to-day activity.
It said that when assessing whether a person is limited in their normal day-to-day activities it is relevant to consider whether they are limited in an activity which is to be found across a range of employment situations. Something that a person does only at work may be classed as normal if it is common to different types of employment. The EAT said that night-shift working is common in the UK and that there are enough people who work on night shifts for working between 2am and 4am to be classed as a normal day-to-day activity.
The activities which Adams had difficulty carrying out: namely walking, climbing stairs, driving and undressing, were normal day-to-day activities. As the effect of Adams' condition on his ability to carry out those activities was substantial and long-term, he