Disability discrimination: Tribunals may not decide for themselves whether treatment was justified
In Jones v Post Office 11.4.01, the Court of Appeal holds that, in order to rely on the defence of justification as defined in s.5(3) of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, it is not enough for the employer to assert that its conduct was reasonable in a general way. It has to establish that, and the employment tribunal is confined to considering whether, the reason given for the less favourable treatment can properly be described as "both material to the circumstances of the particular case and substantial". Where a properly conducted risk assessment provides a reason that is on its face both material and substantial, and is not irrational as being beyond the range of responses open to a reasonable decision-maker, the employment tribunal must respect the employer's opinion. It cannot substitute its own appraisal of the medical evidence or make its own risk assessment.