As well as the Equality Act 2010 is further information in the form of “Guidance on matters to be taken into account in determining questions relating to the definition of disability” and the EHRC Employment Statutory Code of Practice.

To assist our clients Ryminster Medico-Legal Services understand the key issues to disability and can advise from a medical perspective where you stand on these issues whether you are an HR consultant, solicitor or if you are a claimant or a respondent in a case.

The common perception of disability does not necessarily mean that a person is technically “disabled” in law. An occupational health expert will advise if the technical definition is met and will clearly identify the reasons for forming that opinion so that other parties or an Employment Tribunal can follow their reasoning.

How do I know if my employee is disabled for the purpose of the Equality Act 2010?

Section 6(1) of the Equality Act 2010 identifies the test: –

“A person has a disability if he/she has a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.

There are four key questions which must be answered. Our occupational health report will obtain all the relevant information and address these in detail.

1. Is there physical or mental impairment?

Our expert will find the substance in the symptoms. Multiple medical problems are commonly encountered and these can be both physical and mental. Our reports detail the nature and substance of any impairments.

2. Is that effect substantial?

The effect must be enough to qualify. Our reports take this subject in great detail as well as forming an overview so that the opinion provided is consistent at all levels of examination. Ryminster Medico-Legal Services understand the difference between a recurring effect and a progressive one, as well as when treatment makes a difference to that effect.

3. Is that effect long term?

Ryminster Medico-Legal Services understand the legal definition and provide a substantive medical opinion to advise our client.

4. Does it affect the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities?

Ryminster always consider the clear guidance which accompanies the Equality Act 2010. Ryminster understand the difference between normal and specialised activities as well as considering the effect of work as a “normal” activity. Unlike some occupational health advisers Ryminster understand that the list of “capacities” in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 no longer apply.

Our occupational health experts are well versed in advising and guiding Employment Tribunals as to whether the Equality Act or Disability Discrimination Act apply.

Proving Disability In an Employment Tribunal

The burden lies entirely on the claimant to demonstrate disability. It is for the Employment Tribunal to determine this for itself on the balance of probabilities.

Our expert can be involved at the outset of a disability issue or at the last minute – Ryminster can be  instructed in both scenarios or at every stage in-between. It is never too late to discuss a case with our expert.

Ryminster Medico-Legal Services are able to assist you with keeping to the Tribunal timetable and will forewarn you of any anticipated problems which may foreseeably arise. Ryminster have experience of cases litigated all the way to Tribunal and can provide consistent cogent expert evidence under cross-examination on the day if needed. Unlike some experts Ryminster Medico-Legal Services are well versed with the working of a Tribunal.

Can I instruct the expert jointly?

Yes. Most frequently this is the case but in some cases our evidence is used unilaterally. In any case Ryminster Occupational Health team provide an independent view which can be tested from all sides of the matters in issue.

What are the limitations of expert evidence?

Ultimately it is for a Tribunal to decide what amounts to normal day-to-day activities or whether an effect is substantial or not on the facts of the case. Properly considered expert medical opinion ensures that all the relevant legal tests are addressed so that the Tribunal is assisted as much as possible to understand the issues.

What if I do not agree with the content of the report?

The benefit of independent expert evidence is that it does not take sides. The report considers all the information provided and does not exclude consideration of information which may be adverse to those instructing the expert. If there is no medical basis to support a claim for disability the case is likely to be difficult to prove to a Tribunal.

Ryminster are experienced at dealing with challenging questions to the content of expert reports from other parties whether they are legally qualified or not. In some cases the answer may not be clear without obtaining further information: we will advise what is needed and who to obtain it from. Ryminster can liaise with hospital consultants, GPs and other organisations or assist you to do this yourself.

You may have obtained occupational health advice in the past but our legally qualified medical expert provides unrivalled guidance on issues most pertinent to the Equality Act and a finding of disability which will make all the difference.

Our reports provide unequivocal, pragmatic guidance so that the expert opinion is easy to read, easy to understand and easy to rely on.

Ultimately it is for a Tribunal to decide what amounts to normal day-to-day activities or whether an effect is substantial or not on the facts of the case. Properly considered expert medical opinion ensures that all the relevant legal tests are addressed so that the Tribunal is assisted as much as possible to understand the issues.

Each business is unique and this a general guide. If you have a specific question you would like us to answer, to book or make further enquiries either call us on 0871 704 2727, email occupation@ryminster.com or complete the how can we help request form on the right of this page.

Our prices start at £70+ VAT for a standard Pre-Employment Medical at one of our regional assessment centres. Reports are delivered within 5 working days of assessment although we will contact you immediately if there is a cause for concern.

in a red tie and tweed jacket Occupational Health Expert Dr Grant Charlesworth-Jones

Dr Charlesworth-Jones: Medical Negligence Expert

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Legal Testimonial

Having worked with Dr Charlesworth-Jones on several complicated cases in the past I am happily able to recommend him; as an expert he has the ability to analyse the materials presented to him in a manner which is both easy to digest and appropriate to diverse legal forums. In my view, a useful medico-legal report is required to be succinct, impartial and instructive and I have no doubt that in all of Dr Charlesworth-Jones’ reports these objectives have been achieved. I have been highly impressed by his lack of equivocation and his ability to work to close deadlines. I have little doubt that in the absence of these reports my own cases would have become highly disputatious.”
Nigel Brockley
Barrister, No5 Chambers

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