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Could Type 2 diabetes be a disability under the Equality Act 2010?

19 January 2017 #Sickness & Absence

Under the Equality Act 2010, a person with a progressive condition (such as Type 2 Diabetes) has a disability if they “have a physical or mental impairment” which “has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities... as a result of the condition.”

In a previous case, the EAT decided that Type 2 Diabetes did not itself amount to a disability but in Taylor v Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming Ltd, the EAT again considered this question.

The Tribunal held that Mr Taylor was not disabled based on the evidence before them, which focussed on Mr Taylor’s prognosis in the past, as the medical reports did not go into detail on the likely effect of the condition in the future. However, the EAT remitted the case back to the Tribunal for further expert evidence into ways in which Type 2 Diabetes can deteriorate and Mr Taylor’s future prognosis. It said that “Even a small possibility of deterioration... is enough to… result in the particular individual having such an impairment,” as there were various possible complications over the long-term. For progressive conditions, the relevant question was whether the condition was likely to result in a substantial adverse effect on normal day to day activities.

This case illustrates the complexity in establishing if a progressive condition is a disability and the importance of asking the right questions of the medical expert when a report is being compiled on the issue of a possible disability.


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Michael Hibberd

Michael Hibberd

E: mhibberd@clarkslegal.com
T: 0118 953 3905
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