One of the most fundamental principles of justice is that unsuccessful litigants must be given an adequate explanation of the reasons why they have lost. In the context of a disability discrimination claim, an Employment Tribunal (ET) was found to have failed in that basic task.
The case concerned a probationary employee who suffered from medical conditions that amounted to a disability. She was dismissed, purportedly due to performance issues. She launched a direct discrimination claim on the basis that the true reason for her dismissal was her disability. The ET, however, rejected her claim.
In upholding her challenge to that outcome, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that, in giving reasons for its decision, the ET failed to engage with her case that her line manager had exhibited a discriminatory mindset by displaying a dismissive and pejorative attitude in relation to her health.
The ET failed to resolve certain factual disputes that were potentially relevant to the outcome of the case. In particular, it made no findings of fact as to the line manager’s state of knowledge of the employee’s impairments or whether she had in fact acted in the manner complained of prior to the dismissal decision.
The EAT noted that the ET’s reasons for its decision were required to be adequate rather than perfect. It had, however, failed to meet that threshold and that was a matter which could not be overlooked. The EAT directed a rehearing of the employee’s claim before a freshly constituted ET.