Discrimination arising from disability: big payouts by employment tribunals


In a number of recent disability discrimination claims, employment tribunals have found employers guilty of “discrimination arising from disability” under the Equality Act 2010. Stephen Simpson rounds up three recent large tribunal awards for discrimination arising from disability.

What is discrimination arising from disability?

Section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for an employer to treat an employee unfavourably because of something “arising in consequence of” his or her disability where the employer knows, or could reasonably be expected to know, that the employee has a disability.

An employer may successfully defend a claim if it can justify the unfavourable treatment on the basis that it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

£8,514 after dismissal for behaviour arising from disability
In Nally v Freshfield Care Ltd, the employment tribunal found that the claimant’s former employer discriminated against him when it dismissed him because of erratic behaviour arising from his disability.

The employment tribunal awarded:

  • £6,760 for injury to feelings; and
  • £1,754 for salary losses.


£6,600 for injury to feelings and £2,000 in aggravated damages
In Pnaiser v NHS England and another, the employment tribunal awarded compensation after an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) finding against both the claimant’s former and prospective employers.

The employment tribunal ordered the employers to pay £6,600 for injury to feelings, plus £1,700 in respect of loss of enhanced benefits and tribunal fees.

In addition, the employment tribunal ordered Ms Pnaiser’s former employer to pay an additional £2,000 in aggravated damages.


£7,990 for dismissal because of diabetic seizures
In Thomas v Twinmar Ltd, the employment tribunal found that the employer committed discrimination arising from disability when it dismissed an employee who had been off work for a few weeks following a series of diabetic seizures.

Discrimination arising from disability: avoiding claims

Listen to the XpertHR podcast, Discrimination arising from disability – three traps for the unwary, for further guidance on avoiding claims.

The award for discrimination arising from disability was made up of:

  • £3,000 for injury to feelings; and
  • £4,990 for loss of earnings.


Other tribunal decisions in the headlines

NHS worker wins case over porn double life
The NHS has been ordered to pay compensation to an admin worker who was sacked after her secret double life as a porn star was exposed, according to the Liverpool Echo.

Portadown FC to appeal McMahon tribunal wages order
Portadown FC say they will appeal against an employment tribunal decision to order the club to pay £7,000 in unpaid wages to player Peter McMahon, says the BBC.

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