The EAT has held that an employer that took all reasonable, but not all possible, steps to find out whether an employee was disabled did not have constructive knowledge of the disability. The disability in question arose from an assortment of medical conditions causing the employee to be absent from work on a very regular basis for short periods at a time and there were varied reasons given for the absence. The employer relied on a poor occupational health (OH) report but also took other steps, such as “return to work” meetings and reviewed correspondence with the employee’s GP. The EAT considered that the employer’s actions should be viewed as a whole and that the test is of reasonableness, not a “counsel of perfection”. Employers should take heart from this decision, especially when dealing with continuing short-term absences.
Donelien v Liberata UK Ltd UK EAT/0297/14