The Employment Tribunal (ET) has held that an employee who had COVID 19 at the time of dismissal was not disabled within the meaning of the Equality Act (EA) 2010. This contrasts to prior ET decisions which had found that employees suffering with long COVID were disabled and thus protected under the Act. Mrs Quinn had been employed by Sense Scotland as their Head of People. On 11 July 2021, she tested positive for COVID 19 and subsequently suffered from fatigue, shortness of breath, pain, headaches, and confusion. These symptoms impacted the quality of her sleep and her ability to carry out work. On 27 July 2021, she was dismissed by Sense. On three separate occasions in August 2021, she consulted her GP, and it was during this time that she was diagnosed with long COVID and deemed unfit to work. Mrs Quinn then brought a claim against Sense alleging direct disability discrimination.
Under the EA 2010, a person is deemed to be disabled if:
- The person has a physical or mental impairment, and
- That impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on ability to carry out normal day to day activities