20th December, 2016
Discrimination Claims: Medical Evidence Not Always Required for a Personal Injury Award
Compensation awarded for a successful discrimination claim can include an award for injury to feelings and an award for personal injury.
When requesting an award for personal injury in an employment claim, as representatives, we usually expect to have to provide medical evidence to support our client’s claim however, the case of Hampshire County Council v Wyatt UKEAT/0013/16 has established that there is no absolute requirement for medical evidence in such cases.
In this case, the Claimant was employed by Hampshire County Council as a carer. The Claimant suffered from dyslexia and was disabled within the meaning of Section 6 of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA). The Claimant was subject to a disciplinary process during which she was suspended for a short period of time. The suspension triggered the Claimant’s depression which was also found to be a disability under Section 6 of the EqA.
The Claimant did not return to work from her suspension and was subsequently dismissed by the Council following their absence management procedure.
The Claimant claimed successfully for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal. She was awarded £15,000 for injury to feelings and £10,000 for personal injury (the depression).
The Council appealed the decision arguing that medical evidence should be obtained to establish causation. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) stated that there is no such principle that medical evidence has to be obtained in such cases and whilst it is unusual to not obtain medical evidence in a case of that type, the absence of medical evidence is not an absolute barrier to making an award for personal injury.
The EAT held that, “tribunals are expected to deal with compensation for unfair dismissal in a rough and ready way, applying common sense and their best judgement to what is just and equitable in the particular case”.
If you need to bring or defend an employment claim and for specific advice concerning individual situations please contact our Employment Department immediately.
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