The employee was an occupational therapy technician at a hospital. After a reorganisation he was given a new job description, which contained some duties that he had not had to perform previously. These meant he would have to attend medical wards. However, his phobia about blood, injections and needles, which amounted to a disability, prevented him from carrying out those duties, although he did not initially make the employer aware of this or of his condition.
When the employee was signed off with work related stress, he raised a grievance about the new job description and there were various discussions about his role. It was agreed that he would not have to attend meetings on the ward and would not be required to collect patients from ward bays. Unfortunately these amendments were not reflected in the job description issued after his last grievance appeal. He never returned to work and was dismissed on capability grounds. He claimed that the employer had imposed a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) of requiring him to go on medical wards which put him at a substantial disadvantage and had failed to make reasonable adjustments.
The tribunal rejected his claim. Although the job description still referred to attending the wards, the employer had made it clear through the grievance process that he would not be required to do so. Taking the situation in the round, the employer had not failed to make reasonable adjustments. That decision was upheld by the EAT, but the employee appealed to the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal rejected the appeal. Although the employee was now arguing that it was the contents of the job description that placed him at a substantial disadvantage, because he perceived that he might be required to visit the wards, this was not how the case had been put at an earlier stage. In any event, such a case would not have succeeded. The tribunal could consider the discussions between the employer and the employee as a whole. It had been made clear that he would not have to attend ward meetings or collect patients from their beds, so the job description could not be said to impose a PCP requiring him to do so. The employer's failure to issue a more accurate job description did not make it liable for a failure to make reasonable adjustments.