Disability discrimination: workplace culture and a failure to make reasonable adjustments

Employers should take note of an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision which acknowledges that workplace culture, involving a mixture of spoken and unspoken rules, can make people feel obliged to work in a particular way, even if is disadvantageous to their health.

The EAT held that an expectation for a disabled employee to work long hours amounted to a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) for the purposes of a disability discrimination claim based on a failure to make reasonable adjustments. The employer’s expectation, in this instance initially communicated as a request for the employee to work long hours, then based on an assumption that he would do so, was sufficient to constitute a PCP.