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Does a tendency to steal amount to a disability?

November 26, 2018



In a rather interesting case, the employee was dismissed for shoplifting.  His role required vetting to Non Police Personnel Vetting (NPPV) level 2.  He failed to disclose the incident and his admission statement to his employer.  Several months later, his NPPV clearance was refused.  When asked if he had anything to tell his employer he initially said no but then admitted he could remember the incident but that it was not his fault.  He was dismissed for conduct outside of the workplace, withdrawal of his clearance and risk of reputational damage.


He brought a claim for disability discrimination asserting that his depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and associative amnesia, caused him to suffer forgetfulness, including forgetting to pay for items.  The tribunal rejected his claims and found in favour of the employer that a tendency to steal was an excluded condition under the disability legislation, and so did not constitute a physical or mental impairment.


From the evidence, it was clear to see why the tribunal considered that he had been dishonest, particularly in light of the admission that he made to the police, his behaviour in the following few days and his self-serving selective memory in the interview with his line manager.



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