Do adjustments have to be made for a job candidate with Asperger’s Syndrome?

In a case recently before the Employment Appeal Tribunal a job applicant was found to have been discriminated against by being required to sit a psycho metric test.  The applicant, Ms Brookes, applied for a job with the Government Legal Services (GLS).  Along with all other candidates she had to undertake a multiple choice Situation Judgment Test.  Brookes requested adjustments to the Test on the grounds of her Asperger’s Syndrome.  (Her Psychiatrist had made previous recommendations in relation to her university course that a multiple choice format would not be appropriate for her).  She was told that an alternative test format was not available, although time allowances would be made.  She completed but failed the test.  She then claimed disability discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal concluded that the requirement that all applicants take and pass the test put a group of people, such as Ms Brookes, at a particular disadvantage compared with those who did not have Asperger’s Syndrome.  Whilst the requirement served a legitimate aim, the means of achieving that aim were not proportionate to it.  Brookes was put at a disadvantage.  Her claim of indirect discrimination and failure to make reasonable adjustments succeeded.  The decision was upheld on Appeal by the Employment Appeal Tribunal.

Put simply, whilst GLS needed to test the competency of its candidates to make effective decisions, a psycho metric test was not the only way to achieve this.  A salutary warning for prospective employers.

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