The recent case of Mr T Burke v Turning Point Scotland rules that, yes, long COVID does amount to a disability.

This case involved Mr Burke suffering from various symptoms, including fatigue and severe headaches, as a result of post viral fatigue syndrome (long COVID). This led to him being off work from November 2020 until he was dismissed in August 2021. Upon his dismissal, Mr Burke brought a claim for disability discrimination.

Following the Equality Act 2010, a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities (section 6(1)). Substantial is defined to mean more than minor or trivial (section 212). Long-term is defined to mean that it has lasted for at least 12 months, is likely to last for at least 12 months or is likely to last for the rest of the life of the person affected (schedule 1, section 2(1)).

At a preliminary hearing, the tribunal applied Mr Burke’s symptoms to the above statutory definition. The tribunal found that Mr Burke’s condition had a long-term substantial adverse effect. As such, Mr Burke was disabled on the basis of his long COVID. Therefore, he was entitled to pursue a claim for disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

For further information on this topic or on any other legal area, please contact John Szepietowski or Kay Stewart at Audley Chaucer Solicitors on 01372 303444 or email or visit our Linkedin page.


John Szepietowski

This information was correct as at July 2022

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