Leader magazineASCL - Association of School and College Leaders

One disability or two?

It is always sad when a person is unable to manage to carry on working. However, the question then arises, is there a case of disability? A disability is an impairment that "has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities".

In Patel v Oldham Borough Council and Rushcroft Primary School, there was no question that Mrs Patel, a primary school teacher, had an impairment. The question was whether it was long-term.

Long-term is defined as 12 months or more. Mrs Patel's impairment was in fact two impairments which might or might not be related, but neither of which was certain to last for 12 months or more. However, together they did.

An employment appeal tribunal confirmed that two impairments that together last 12 months can be seen as a single impairment for the purposes of discrimination.

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