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Perceived disability claims permissible

In the first case of its kind brought under the Equality Act, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld a claim for direct discrimination based on perceived disability.

The employer rejected the claimant's job application. The evidence showed that the employer perceived that the claimant had a progressive condition within the meaning under the Act. Furthermore, the tribunal had been entitled to find that a person with the same abilities as the claimant, whose condition the employer did not perceive to be likely to deteriorate in the same way, would not have been treated in the same way.

In such cases, it is necessary to decide whether the putative discriminator perceived the individual to have an impairment with the features which are set out in the Act, for example, whether they perceived the adverse effects as long-term.

Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey UKEAT/0260/16.

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