Water, water everywhere – another allergy case
Back in July last year, I observed that there are few Employment Tribunal decisions dealing with severe allergies. Perhaps I spoke too soon, as another allergy case has been in the news.
Diane Harding worked as a PA at the Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation, whose premises (somewhat ironically) flooded last year. Mrs Harding reportedly collapsed as a result of the flooding, and blamed this on an allergic reaction.
After the flooding incident, the OEHPR took various steps to help Mrs Harding. It carried out a deep clean of her room, temporarily relocated her to another workspace, and ran out a presentation on allergic reactions for all staff. Mrs Harding thought she was not being taken seriously, however, and resigned.
She subsequently brought a constructive unfair dismissal claim, which the Employment Tribunal dismissed. The ET noted that Mrs Harding had limited evidence to support her claim, and concluded that she had been less than transparent with the relevant medical evidence. In particular, she had refused to share certain medical information from one consultant with another.
This case clearly turned on its own facts and, in particular, the Employment Tribunal’s opinion of Mrs Harding’s credibility. At the same time, however, it is an interesting addition to the case law on allergy: perhaps there will be more to come in 2014.