Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre Plus) v Jamil

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that a failure to comply with that duty was a continuing act as the duty to make a reasonable adjustment for a disabled employee is a continuing duty, at least where the employer says that they will keep the situation under review. As a result, the time limit for bringing the claim in the Jamil did not run from Jobcentre Plus’ decision not to make the adjustment.

This conflicts with an earlier Court of Appeal ruling (Matuszowicz) that the time limit starts to run on the expiry of the period within which the employer might reasonably have been expected to make the relevant adjustment.

There have been disability discrimination cases at the Employment Tribunal which were struck out as being out of time due to the Matuszowicz case, so the precedent in Jamil offers a limited reprieve in cases of this kind where the failure to make reasonable adjustments continued e.g. repeated failures to provide a British Sign Language/English Interpreter even though the employer had made it clear that they would not be provided.

Noentheless, it is worth bearing in mind that the EAT’s decision was based on the fact that Jobcentre Plus had said that it was constantly monitoring the situation and that the decision might be reviewed, which made it clear that they had not made a “once and for all” refusal, so it is important to make the distinction between employers who make a decision and consider it the end of the matter, and employers who say that they will keep the decision under review.

Rob

Deaf, hubby to Rachel, dad to Corey, Libby and Emily, Solicitor, Lecturer in Legal Practice at University of South Wales, PhD student at University of Leicester.

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