HMRC to pay £20,000 to disabled employee

Peninsula Team

October 27 2022

HMRC has been ordered to pay just over £20,000 to an employee who was discriminated against because of his disability.

HMRC’s recruitment methods resulted in the rejection of an employee’s application for an internal promotion when he ticked a box saying he couldn’t drive.

But the claimant suffered from a syncope and pre-syncope episodes and was considered disabled under the Equality Act.

He was provided with funding from Access to Work to cover the supply of a driver where needed for work-related activities which meant he would still be able to travel by car.

A request to submit a manual application which wouldn’t be filtered out by HMRC’s recruitment processes was rejected so he raised a grievance, the judgment outlined.

A senior manager at HMRC did not uphold the grievance and the claimant made a claim of disability discrimination, specifically accusing HMRC of indirect discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments.

HMRC accepted that they had the provision, criterion or practice relied upon by the claimant, namely a requirement for a full valid UK driving licence as an essential requirement for the role and that they applied this to everyone applying for the role.

The Judge noted ‘that it was not reasonably necessary for there to be an essential criteria that candidates for the role must have a full valid UK driving licence. That aim could have been achieved by stating that a driving licence was a desirable criteria, rather than treating it as an essential criteria.

‘It was not proportionate to state that it was essential that all candidates must possess a valid UK driving licence. In light of all of the above points, the Tribunal concluded that the respondent has not established that the PCP applied was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

‘The claimant’s complaint of indirect discrimination accordingly succeeds.’

The Judge also found that HMRC had failed to make reasonable adjustments for the claimant, holding that it would have been reasonable to open the job up on the basis that the applicant should provide details of how they might undertake travel without a licence; accept an application based upon the provision of Access to Work support and consider reallocation of any tasks within the wider team where some tasks absolutely require a driving licence.

Suggested Resources