In late November, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, in Chalker v Murrays Australia Pty Ltd [2016] NSWCATAD 282, rejected an application by an employer to strike out a job applicant's claim that they were subject to direct discrimination because the employer refused to employ them because of their mental health issue.

Murrays Australia sought to have the aspiring bus driver's discrimination claim dismissed for want of prosecution and for lack of substance.

While the decision is short on detail about why Murrays refused the job application, Deputy President Hennessy found that the 'inherent requirements’ exception in anti-discrimination law is 'not so obviously applicable that it justifies summarily dismissing Mr Chalker’s complaint'.

While the merits of the claim have not yet been dealt with, this decision is illustrative of the trend for job applicants and employees to allege discrimination on the basis of mental health (ie, a disability).

What does this mean for your organisation?

It highlights the need for employers to take real care in decision-making where a job applicant or employee has a mental health issue. Remember an employee needs to be able to perform the inherent requirements of the role – although this will need to be carefully considered in each circumstance.