Government Legal Service v Brookes UKEAT/0302/16/RN
An aspiring law student dreamt of joining the Government Legal Service. She studied hard and got her law degree. Amongst thousands of graduates, she applied for a handful of trainee solicitor vacancies at the GLS.
She had Asperger’s Syndrome. The medicos agreed that this condition made it difficult for her to complete multiple choice answers and that an adjustment to enable her to answer the questions with descriptive (rather than yes or no) answers was appropriate. She was still answering the same questions but in a different style. Her University had previously allowed this as a reasonable adjustment at exam time.
Sadly, the GLS refused to do likewise. She was told she had to do the standard multiple choice psychometric tests despite medical evidence showing why this was difficult. She carried on and attempted the questions and (only just) failed. She was told that she did not get to the next stage.
Did she give up? No, she took them to ET claiming disability discrimination (failure to make reasonable adjustments, indirect discrimination and discrimination arising from disability) and, representing herself, beat GLS with the ET ruling in her favour.
The ET found that the GLS had indirectly discriminated against her, had failed to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments and had treated her unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of her disability. Whilst the GLS were able to show that tough, competitive testing was a reasonable requirement, they failed to show it was proportionate, as another means of testing, as suggested by her, was available.The ET ordered them to pay compensation to her and made a recommendation that they issue a written apology to her and review their procedures in relation to people with a disability applying for employment, with a view to greater flexibility in the testing regime.
GLS refused to accept this, appealing to the EAT. Again, she represented herself and again she beat them.
Postscript – I’m told that the Claimant will be re-applying for a training contract with the GLS this summer. If there’s any justice, the GLS should immediately offer her a job!
Morrish employment team grows further:
We are pleased to announce that Kamran Sadiq, solicitor, joins the expanding employment team at Morrish. Kamran qualified as a solicitor at Morrish and will be handling various employment cases and providing advice on employment law issues.