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Employment & HR Legal Updates

In Sullivan v Bury Street Capital Limited, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has upheld an employment tribunal’s decision that an employee who suffered from paranoid delusions did not have a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.

S had been employed by BSC Limited since 2008 as a senior sales executive. There was a degree of tension between him and the chief executive, D, due to S’s poor timekeeping, attendance and way in which he documented his activities. In May 2013, following a short relationship with a Ukrainian woman, S became convinced that he was being continually monitored and followed by a gang of Russians connected to this woman. D became aware of this in July 2013 and noted that S was in a bad place psychologically.

In September 2013, D invited S to join him on a business trip during which D observed him looking and performing well. S told D that his condition was improving. In early 2014, S saw a psychologist and doctor, both of whom noted improvements.

On 8 September 2017, D dismissed S due to his poor timekeeping, lack of communication, unauthorised absences and lack of record-keeping. S brought claims including for disability discrimination. The employment tribunal found that S’s condition did not amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. It found that the paranoid delusions that S suffered had a substantial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities but that, as the substantial effect lasted from May to September 2013, it was not long-term and it was not likely to recur. It held that, in addition to this, the employer did not have actual or constructive knowledge of it. The EAT upheld the decision of the employment tribunal.

For more information on disability discriminations, Equality Act 2010 or matters related to Mental Health within the workplace please contact Tom Evans or Elizabeth Judson. 

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