Employee who suffered from delusions loses discrimination case

An employee who suffered from paranoid delusions following the break-up of a relationship has lost his claim of disability discrimination.

Mr S Sullivan had worked for a small finance company, Bury Street Capital Ltd, as a sales executive since 2008. From the beginning of his employment, there were concerns about his timekeeping and record-keeping.

Between March and May 2013, he had a short relationship with a Ukrainian woman. Following the ending of that relationship, he suffered paranoid delusions that he was being followed and stalked by a Russian gang.

In July, Bury Street became aware of Sullivan’s delusional beliefs, which affected his timekeeping, attendance, and record-keeping.

His delusions continued and during 2014 he consulted a doctor and a psychologist. The psychologist recorded that Sullivan was managing to ignore the delusions and was able to concentrate on work.

Between July 2014 and September 2017, Bury Street conducted regular reviews with Sullivan, which raised his timekeeping and attitude at work.

However, in April 2017, his condition again worsened. On 8 September, he was dismissed.

He brought a claim of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The tribunal upheld his unfair dismissal claim but rejected the disability discrimination claim on the ground that he did not have a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.

It found that there was a substantial adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities for four to five months in 2013 and for up to five months in 2017, but that in neither case was it likely that the substantial adverse effect would continue for 12 months or recur.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld that decision.

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