Is the requirement to work long hours a provision, criterion or practice triggering the duty to make reasonable adjustments?
This was considered in the case of Carreras v United First Partners Research. In this case, the claimant was employed by the company as an analyst. He suffered a severe road traffic accident, which meant that he suffered from continuing symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue and headaches, difficulty in concentrating and focusing. This amounted to a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.
The impact of his disability meant that he found it difficult to work in the evenings.
On his return to work, he began working late in the evenings. However, he found this difficult as he became tired and he formally objected. Following receipt of the claimant’s formal email advising the company of his objection, he was advised that if he did not like this then he could leave. The claimant resigned and brought claims against the company including disability discrimination, namely the company’s failure to make reasonable adjustments, and constructive unfair dismissal.
In relation to the claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments, the claimant relied on a provision, criterion or practice of being required to work late. The Employment Tribunal dismissed the reasonable adjustments claim and held that there was an expectation or assumption that the claimant would work late.
The claimant appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).
The EAT upheld his appeal. It held that the requirement to work late was a provision, criterion or practice, and the matter would be remitted to a fresh tribunal to determine what disadvantage, if any the claimant suffered.
Employers need to be aware of their duty to make reasonable adjustments particularly where employees are deemed to be disabled within the Equality Act or those who may not be diagnosed as disabled but may have symptoms which arguably could amount to a disability.
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This briefing is for guidance purposes only. RadcliffesLeBrasseur accept no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken or not taken in relation to this note and recommend that appropriate legal advice be taken having regard to a client’s own particular circumstances.