Case law updates

Long-term stress is not always a disability

In Herry v Dudley Council the Tribunal dealt with the question of whether long term stress counts as disability for the purposes of the Equality Act.

Herry claimed to be disabled by virtue of workplace stress. He was supported by his Doctor who provided sick notes to this effect. Herry was signed off for long periods for this reason. It was accepted by all sides that problems at work were the cause of the stress since Herry was able to pursue his life outside work. The Tribunal therefore needed to consider whether Herry’s stress qualified as a disability under the Equality Act as the test is about a “substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

Whilst acknowledging the lengthy absences from work and Herry’s view he couldn’t return to the workplace, they went on to say that in this case it didn’t fall within the definition of disability in the Equality Act, giving credence to the view that in circumstances where the only reason for a failure to return to work is due to the situation in the workplace this could be argued.