Posted by Richard Woodman, Partner
ADHD did not amount to disability under the Equality Act
The pupil was a boarder at the School; she suffered from ADHD. She was caught having sexual intercourse with a male student in the school which resulted in her exclusion and the Principal advising her mother to withdraw her to avoid her having an expulsion on her record. Her mother appealed against the decision, stating that she was disabled under the Equality Act because of her ADHD and its negative effect on her ability to make decisions, and that she had thereby been discriminated against. The matter was initially heard in the Additional Support Needs Tribunal for Scotland which rejected the claim as it was not satisfied that she suffered from a disability. The Court of Session agreed and rejected her appeal because it considered that her mental impairment did not have a substantial and long term adverse effect on her ability to carry out day to day activities based on the evidence of her teachers. Furthermore there did not appear to be a causal link between the ADHD and the act in question which caused her expulsion; this was based on the pre-planning involved in the act itself rather than being an impulsive one as a result of the ADHD; plus evidence that she had had previous sexual relationships which her mother did not appear to attribute to the condition.
This somewhat unusual case highlights the importance of proving a causal connection between the disability and the act in question.
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