Disability discrimination: What are "normal day-to-day activities"?
Published 1 March 2016
In this case, the EAT considered the extent to which work related activities constituted "normal day-to-day activities" for the purpose of deciding if the claimant was disabled.
Mr Banaszczyk was employed as a "picker". His job included lifting goods of up to 25kg, and achieving a "pick rate", meaning that he had to pick a specified number of cases an hour. Following a back injury, he was no longer able to achieve the pick rate. He was dismissed on the grounds of incapability, and brought unfair dismissal and disability discrimination claims.
The employer argued that Mr Banaszczyk was not disabled because, although he had a long term physical impairment, it did not have a substantial effect on his carrying out normal day-to-day activities. It did not consider that picking was a normal day-to-day activity.
The EAT judge disagreed with this, saying that Mr Banaszczyk's normal work activities involved "lifting and moving goods...up to 25kg. This is, in the context of work, a normal day-to-day activity: no-one with any knowledge of modern UK working life could doubt that large numbers of people are employed to work lifting and moving cases of up to 25kg across a range of occupations..." Mr Banaszcyzyk was therefore disabled.
What does this mean for employers?
"Normal day-to-day activities" will include work related activities where there are non- specialised activities common across a number of occupations. Police work on a night shift (for example) and completion of promotion examinations or assessments would constitute normal day-to-day activities. The judge even commented that the current guidance, excluding specialised activities such as watchmaking from the definition, might be out of date in light of current European case law.