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Banaszczyk v Booker Ltd UKEAT/0132/15; (2016) EMPLR 014
11 September 2015
Employment Appeal Tribunal
His Honour Judge David Richardson
An employee has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial, long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. EU case law has established that ‘normal day-to-day activities’ can include activities which are normal in professional life. Thus if a particular activity is normal for a cross-section of the population in their professional life, then a medical condition that impairs the ability to carry out that activity could constitute a disability if it is substantial and long-term.
B was a picker in a warehouse. His job involved lifting packages weighing up to 25 kilos. He had a back condition which meant that his work rate was below that regarded as acceptable by his employers. He was eventually dismissed. He said his dismissal amounted to disability discrimination. The first question was whether he was disabled.
The tribunal held he was not disabled, because lifting weights of up to 25 kilos was not a ‘normal’ day-to-day activity for most of the population. The EAT said this was wrong. Account must be taken of what is normal in professional life. For large numbers of people, particularly in occupations in warehousing and distribution, lifting cases of up to 25 kilos is a normal day-to-day activity. B was therefore disabled.