In Carreras v United First Partners Research the Claimant - a high performing analyst who had worked long hours before suffering serious injuries in a cycling accident - made complaints of constructive dismissal and a failure to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments.
The duty to make a reasonable adjustment arises where a provision, criterion or practice (PCP) applied by the employer puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with those who are not disabled. In those circumstances the employer must take such steps as it is reasonable to take to avoid the disadvantage. Mr Carreras relied upon a PCP of having been required to work late but the Respondent contended working late had been voluntary for the Claimant after his accident - i.e. he had been requested, not required, to work late.
The Employment Tribunal (ET) found the Respondent's position had progressed from making open requests to assuming that the Claimant would work late on one or two evenings a week. It was accepted that by working late evenings the Claimant was placed at a disadvantage due to his disability. The ET did not accept however that he had been "forced" to work late even though it recognised that the Claimant would have considered there were commercial and political reasons why he should work late. The claim was dismissed because the ET found the expectation or assumption that the Claimant would work late was not the PCP he had pleaded.
The EAT disagreed with the findings of the ET. The EAT were of the view that it should adopt a real world approach that, whilst "requirement" might be taken to imply some element of compulsion, an expectation or assumption placed upon an employee might well suffice as a PCP. As the ET recognised by reference to the "commercial or political" factors, employees can feel obliged to work in a particular way even if disadvantageous to their health.