Does Type 2 diabetes controlled by diet automatically qualify as a disability?

No, held the EAT in Metroline Travel v Stoute.

The Claimant argued that he was a disabled person because he had Type 2 diabetes and followed a diet which was designed to reduce blood sugar levels. The employment tribunal accepted a submission that this automatically made him a disabled person under the Equality Act, and it failed to consider the specific circumstances of the case. The EAT found that this was an error of law. More controversially, the EAT ruled that a diabetic diet does not qualify as measures taken to treat or correct the condition.

This was an academic appeal as the Claimant had already lost his substantive case on liability but the EAT allowed it to be heard because the Respondent had other employees with Type 2 diabetes who would be affected by the decision. The Claimant was ordered to repay the Respondent’s fees in full.

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