Employment law Associate, David Sheppard, looks at a recent ruling by an Employment Appeal Tribunal and what this could mean for type 2 diabetes as a disability classification.
'This is an interesting case. The judgment confirms that a condition does not need to have an adverse effect at the relevant time to amount to a disability - if it is likely to progress in the future.
With the significant rise of type 2 diabetes, particularly in Wales (almost 270,000 people have diabetes in Wales, 90% of which have type 2, according to Diabetes UK), this ruling is one that employers should take note of.
The health of many type 2 diabetics - given the nature of the condition - could be considered 'likely' to decline (leading to disability), even though their condition does not have a disabling effect at the moment.
This means that many employers across the country could be employing - and will continue to employ - people who are technically disabled (and therefore have protection under the Equality Act), without realising it. This leaves them at risk of inadvertantly committing unlawful discrimination - and facing a lawsuit.
It will be interesting to see what new cases this ruling may inform, and how employees and employers alike are affected.
Taylor v Ladbrokes Gaming & Betting Ltd UKEAT/0353/15/DA Appeal against a ruling that the Claimant was not disabled within the meaning of s6 of the EA 2010. Appeal allowed. The Claimant, who suffered from Type 2 diabetes, alleged both unfair dismissal and unlawful disability discrimination. The EJ relied on two medical reports to determine whether or not the Claimant was disabled within the meaning of s6 EA. He ruled that he was not disabled, quoting one of the medical reports: "even absent the medication the Claimant's current condition would have no adverse impact on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities". The EAT allowed the appeal.