Type 2 diabetes not automatically classed as a disability
In the recent case of Metroline Travel v Stoute, the EAT overturned an employment tribunal’s decision that an employee’s Type 2 diabetes should not be classed as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
In the original hearing, the employment tribunal agreed that the Claimant was a ‘disabled person’ under the Equality Act because he had Type 2 diabetes and followed a diet designed to reduce blood sugar levels, which included abstaining from sugary drinks.
The EAT found that the employment tribunal made an error of law and ruled that the diet and the abstention from sugary drinks was not sufficient to constitute a substantial adverse effect on day-to-day activities, which is a crucial aspect of the statutory definition of ‘disability’.
The EAT allowed this case to be heard because the Respondent had other employees with Type 2 diabetes who would be affected by the original decision. The Claimant was ordered to repay the Respondent’s fees in full.
What this means for you
Although the EAT’s decision will be welcomed by employers, it doesn't rule out the possibility of other claimants with type 2 diabetes from being able to establish that they do satisfy the definition of ‘disability’.
This judgement simply clarifies that type 2 diabetes is not automatically a disability. While this judgment is logical when the test to satisfy a disability is considered, it's helpful clarification.
To read the case, please see here.
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