Swift v Chief Constable of Wiltshire Constabulary, EAT, 18 February [2004] All ER (D) 299


Recurring conditions: Swift claimed two colleagues had bullied her. On her return to work following a period of sick leave, she was placed on recuperative duties in a different team. She asked not to work alongside the colleagues involved but their shift patterns sometimes overlapped.

She complained of disability discrimination because her employers had failed to make reasonable adjustments to her shift patterns between July and October 2002. It was accepted, following medical evidence, that she had suffered from a recognised psychiatric condition from January 2001 to mid-2002, but Swift argued she was still disabled beyond that point because she had a recurring condition. The tribunal dismissed her complaint and she appealed.

The EAT concluded the question was not whether the illness itself was likely to recur, but whether the substantial adverse effect was likely to recur. The tribunal should consider whether at some stage there had been an impairment which had a substantial adverse effect on the applicant’s ability to carry out normal daily activities, whether the impairment ceased to have that effect, and when. Then it should consider what the adverse effect was, and whether it was likely to recur. The tribunal rightly concluded that Swift did not have a recurring condition.

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