Negative verbal reference resulting in withdrawal of job offer was discrimination arising from disability

In Pnaiser v NHS England and Coventry City Council UKEAT/0137/15, the EAT has held that an employment tribunal erred in its approach to burden of proof when it found that a claimant had failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination arising from disability. When a disabled person's job offer was withdrawn, following a negative verbal reference from their former employer, the tribunal should not have focused on whether there were neutral reasons why the manager providing the reference had formed a negative view of the individual. Rather, the tribunal should have considered whether sickness absences, which arose out of disability, played a part in that negative assessment. In this case, it was clear that they could have done, so a prima facie case was made out.

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