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Sales executive with delusional disorder loses disability claim

January 5th 2022
 

A sales executive who suffered from a delusional disorder has lost his claim of disability discrimination. The Court of Appeal upheld the Employment Tribunal’s decision that his condition did not amount to a disability under the Equality Act.

Jennifer Cafferky Employment Law Solicitor, reports on this recent case.

The case involved Mr Sullivan, who had worked for Bury Street Capital Ltd since 2009.

Following a relationship breakdown in 2013, he suffered paranoid delusions that he was being stalked by a Russian gang connected to his former partner.

During 2014 he consulted a doctor and a psychologist in relation to his delusions. In April 2017 his condition worsened.

On 7 September 2017 he attended a GP appointment and was signed off work on sick leave. On 8 September the employer terminated his employment based on his capability, citing his poor timekeeping, lack of communication, unauthorised absences and poor record-keeping.

The Employment Tribunal upheld his claim of unfair dismissal but rejected his disability discrimination claim.

A jointly-instructed consultant psychiatrist considered that he was suffering from a delusional disorder.

The tribunal found that there had been a substantial adverse effect on Sullivan’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities for four to five months in 2013 and for a further three to four months in 2017.

However, in neither case was it likely that the substantial adverse effect would continue for at least 12 months or recur and therefore constitute a substantial and long-term adverse effect within the meaning of the Act.

The Court of Appeal upheld that decision.

It held that Sullivan’s fundamental complaint was that he did not agree with the tribunal’s conclusions on substantial and long-term adverse effect, but that was not a basis for an appeal on a point of law.

The tribunal had given adequate reasons for its findings of fact.

If you would like more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of employment law please contact Jennifer on 01228 516666 or click here to send her an email.

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