A police officer won their case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal after it was found they were discriminated against for the possibility of being disabled in the future.

The employee had some hearing loss which would have otherwise disqualified her from being recruited, however she passed a function test and so was accepted into her current force.

However, when applying for a transfer to another force she was rejected because of her hearing level being slightly below the required standard. They did not offer a function test and made the decision to reject the transfer request on the basis of concerns that the employee may eventually end up on restricted duties if her hearing deteriorated further.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal was of the view that this amounted to direct discrimination based on a perception that the employee may be disabled in the future. Disability discrimination is becoming a hot topic and this case demonstrates how careful employers have to be when deciding what to consider in recruitment processes and employees generally.