The Equality Act 2010 introduced the concept of discrimination "arising from" a disability. There have been three recent cases in which the EAT has had to examine the concept and how close the connection between unfavourable treatment and the claimant's disability has to be for a claim to succeed. The latest case confirms that disability has to provide more than just the context in which the allegedly unfavourable treatment takes place.
The claimant worked for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). She received Disability Living Allowance from 2001. After an investigation it appeared that she stopped being eligible for the benefit in 2010 but had continued to claim it. This resulted in a prosecution (which was ultimately unsuccessful) and she was also dismissed from her employment because the employer believed that she had claimed the benefit dishonestly. She claimed that her dismissal was unfair and was also discrimination "arising from" her disability.
The disability discrimination claim was struck out by the tribunal on the basis that it had no reasonable prospect of success. The EAT upheld the decision. The claimant's disability formed part of the background to the case but the dismissal was not treatment "because of something arising in consequence of the disabled person's disability". Here the claimant's dismissal occurred because her employers thought that she had been dishonest. It was not due to anything "arising from" disability, despite the fact that the purported dishonesty related to a disability benefit.