Make a Tribunal claim for discrimination arising from disability

How to make a Tribunal claim

You can make a Tribunal claim at no cost to the Employment Tribunal, using the ET1 form. Before you submit your claim, you must contact ACAS, the public body who can help to resolve your claim through Early Conciliation. You can write your particulars of claim using our ET1 Particulars of Claim template.

This guide will walk you through making a discrimination arising from disability claim.

How to complete Section 8.2 of the ET1 form

The ET1 form will ask in section 8.2 for the background and details of your claim. The best way to approach this is to write your Particulars of Claim (called a Paper Apart if you are in Scotland). This is where you lay out what happened, what legal claims you’d like to make and your reasoning. 

This section is the heart of your Tribunal claim and is very important and difficult to change later on, so it’s worth spending some time to make sure it’s clear.

How to create your particulars of claim:

  1. Write your ET1 section 8.2

    You’ll normally do this by creating a separate document called the Particulars of Claim (or Paper Apart in Scotland). This sets out the background and details of your claim. Valla offers step-by-step guidance to help you make sure your claims are clear and laid out in the right way.

  2. Convert the file to Rich Text Format (RTF)

    Convert your file to RTF and attach it to the online ET1 form. If you’re not sure how to do this, you can purchase Valla’s Peace of Mind Check and we will sort this out for you.

  3. Submit your ET1 form

    Wait for the Tribunal to acknowledge your claim. They will also send a copy to the Respondent, who will have 28 days to respond.

Specific things to consider in your discrimination arising from disability claim

Laying out your claim

When you are claiming discrimination arising from disability at Tribunal, you want to clearly argue that your employer has treated you unfairly because of something connected to your disability rather than the disability itself. For example:

  • An employee with a visual impairment is dismissed because they cannot do as much work as a non-disabled colleague. 
  • An employer dismisses a worker because they have had three months’ sick leave. The employer is aware that the worker has multiple sclerosis and most of their sick leave is disability-related. 
  • An employee is disciplined for losing her temper at work. However, this behaviour was out of character and is a result of severe pain caused by cancer, of which her employer is aware. 

With discrimination arising from disability, it’s important to know that sometimes discrimination arising from disability is lawful if it can be justified, for example if there are strong business reasons for the practice.

With discrimination arising from disability, your employer can be liable for the acts of its employees, as well as the employees being personally responsible.

Proving your claim

You don’t need to attach evidence to a Tribunal ET1 claim, but it’s a good idea to back up your claims by mentioning the evidence you intend to use. For discrimination due to something arising as a consequence of a disability claims, people typically refer to evidence such as policies such as sickness absence policies, doctor’s notes, Occupational Health reports, text messages, emails, letters, meeting notes and witness evidence.

What you can ask for in your discrimination arising from disability claim

If you’re successful in a Tribunal claim, you will be awarded a “remedy”. This mainly includes financial compensation, like loss of earnings. It can also include some non-financial remedies too.

Common remedies people ask for at Tribunal

Some of the key remedies you can ask for at Tribunal are:

  • The money you have lost from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • The money that you expect to lose in the future from being out of work, or working in a lower-paid job.
  • Wages that you are owed, including holiday pay and notice pay.

Discrimination-specific remedies

As well as the common remedies that you can ask for, discrimination-specific claims also have the option to include an “injury to feelings” remedy. This is compensation which you can be awarded when you have been hurt or distressed because you have been discriminated against.

Injury to feelings is generally awarded within one of three “Vento bands” depending on severity:

  • for less serious cases - £990 to £9,900
  • for more serious cases - £9,900 to £29,600
  • for the most serious cases - £29,600 to £49,300

For example, Ileana's employer decided against taking her on a work trip to Thailand due to her autism, which sometimes led to agitated or angry behaviour. As her behaviour arose from her disability, the Tribunal found that her employer discriminated against her due to her disability. She was award £4,500 in injury to feelings.

She made a number of other claims which were not successful.

Real discrimination arising from disability cases you can learn from

Summary: after raising a grievance about a failure to make reasonable adjustments and bullying, a disabled employee was suspended for two and a half years. She was ultimately dismissed at the end. She took her employer to the Tribunal, citing disability discrimination, among other claims.

Total award: unknown - the parties agreed this by way of settlement 

Outcome: the Tribunal found that her suspension and dismissal both amounted to discrimination arising from disability. This was because the request for adjustments and the grievance arose from her disability. The Tribunal also found that her manager’s negative reaction after she took sickness absence was discrimination arising from disability. The employee was also successful in a number of other claims.

Summary: an employee had been Acting Manager for a number of years, being paid an “acting up allowance”. When they became seriously unwell with sciatica and back pain, they had a long period of sickness absence. Their employer stopped paying the acting up allowance, and eventually removed the role from them altogether.

Total award: £19,159.79

Outcome: the Tribunal found the employee’s two claims for discrimination for something arising from disability to be successful. 

Further reading

Related Tribunal claims 

If you’ve faced discrimination arising as a consequence of your disability at work, there are potentially a number of other discrimination claims that could apply to you:

  • Victimisation - where you’ve been treated badly because you made or helped with a discrimination complaint.
  • Harassment - where you’ve been subjected to behaviour that relates to a protected characteristic and is unwanted. This behaviour must make you feel, or be intended to make you feel intimidated, degraded, or offended.
  • Indirect discrimination - where a company policy or practice negatively affects a group of people who fall under the protected characteristic you are claiming. 
  • Sexual harassment - where you have experienced unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or been treated less favourably because you have either submitted to or rejected sexual harassment, or harassment related to sex or gender reassignment. 
  • Direct discrimination - where you’ve been treated badly because of a protected characteristic.  
  • Failure to make reasonable adjustments (note that this only applies to disability) - where your employer has failed to make a reasonable change to help you to do your job, or apply for a job, to reduce the impact of your disability.

You may also be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal or another type of employment law. You can download your free Action Toolkit to find out more.