Can a tribunal decide that further medical evidence is required and order the respondent to pay for it?
28th April, 2014
In the recent case of City Facilities Management v Ling, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that a Tribunal cannot insist that a claimant should obtain additional medical evidence in relation to a disability, nor can it insist that the respondent pays for that further evidence.
The claimant, a former janitor of a supermarket, was dismissed on capability grounds following a period of sickness absence owing to a psychiatric condition including depression and anxiety. However, an assessment by the DWP had stated that she was not disabled.
During a pre-hearing review to potentially strike out the claimant’s disability claim due to it having low prospects of success, the Tribunal decided that GP records didn’t provide sufficient information and as such expert evidence was required. In addition, due to the claimant’s financial situation, the Tribunal ordered the respondent to pay for this.
The EAT allowed the respondent’s appeal and stated that the expert evidence was unnecessary due to the fact that the claimant herself could have given evidence of her alleged impairment. Furthermore, the overriding objective was not to require the respondent to help support a weak case. The EAT remitted this case to a fresh Tribunal.
This case highlights the importance of being aware of your rights and responsibilities in relation to disabilities in the workplace, whether that be from an employer or an employee perspective.
For further information and advise in relation to handling disabilities in the workplace, please contact Helen Watson on 01244 405565 or send an email to [email protected].
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