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Disability discrimination: Autistic traits affected employee's ability to understand

This report relates to 1 case(s)

  • expand disabled

    Hewett v Motorola Ltd [2004] IRLR 545 EAT (0 other reports)

Key points

In Hewett v Motorola Ltd, the EAT holds:

  • An employee with Asperger's Syndrome, which is a form of autism, suffered a mental impairment which had a long-term adverse effect on his ability to "understand". Accordingly, if that adverse effect was substantial, he would fall within the definition of a disabled person for the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995.
  • The word "understand" should be construed broadly in accordance with the purposive approach that should be taken to the Act, and, in this case, the employee's difficulty understanding normal social interaction among people and his problems with interpreting non-verbal signals, affected his ability to understand within the meaning of the Act.