Decision: A claim for disability discrimination failed because the claimant employee refused to allow certain medical information to be disclosed to his employer’s occupational health doctor.  In such circumstances, a definitive diagnosis of the employee’s medical condition could not be provided and the employer could not reasonably be expected to know that the employee was bipolar.

Impact: This case is helpful for employers who face difficulties in obtaining medical information from employees.  If employees refuse to co-operate, an employer may have good grounds to argue successfully that it had not been aware of the employee’s disability.  This case, however, must be treated with some caution – an employee might still be able to argue that the employer ought to have known that he or she had a disability.

Cox v Essex County Fire and Rescue Service