An applicant for a job who had dyspraxia asked to make an oral job application instead of filling the online form that the employer required. The employer emailed him with repeated requests asking him to explain what his difficulty was with the online process. The individual had difficulty with written communication, indeed that was the reason behind his request in the first place, so he also struggled to deal with these emails. The employer ought to have realised this as they knew about the dyspraxia. The Tribunal ruled that a reasonable employer would have phoned the applicant in order to understand their situation more fully.

A factual quirk of this case is that the applicant was seeking to return to the same team, with the job applications being judged by the same line manager who had dismissed him 8 months previously (failed probation). Understandably, that may have been behind the employer’s reluctance to engage with the individual but what you don’t get to know is to what extent they knew about the dyspraxia during the probationary period and what reasonable adjustments were made at that stage to assist the individual in order to level the playing field and put them into a position where they might have been able to pass the probationary period.

This case illustrates the importance of making reasonable adjustments not only for your own employees such as probationers but for all job applicants. It also illustrates how sometimes the reasonable adjustment is something very cheap and easy to do (a phone call instead of an email) and how as soon as the employer has knowledge there is a disability they should be making adjustments not waiting for the employee to ask.

Refreshing Law Ltd
August 2023