Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

In Lofty v Hamis t/a First Café the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) held that a (“pre-cancerous”) form of cancer which was contained in skin layers and had not yet spread to other parts of the body constituted cancer for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010, and therefore a deemed disability.

The factual background of Lofty v Hamis t/a First Café

Ms Lofty worked as a cafe assistant. In or about summer of 2014 she became aware of a ‘blemish’ on her left cheek; after a biopsy in March 2015 the blemish was diagnosed as ‘lentigo maligna’ (a “pre-cancerous lesion which could result in lesion malignant melanoma (skin cancer)”). She underwent further surgery to remove the cancerous cells in April 2015 and subsequently 3 September 2015. This resulted her for being signed off work sick from 17 August 2015 for four weeks for “…surgery for Lentigo Maligna”. By mid-September 2015 she was informed that her latest biopsy was free of any form of possible cancer, but she continued to be signed off work until 17 December 2015 (for subsequent skin grafts and extreme anxiety).

Whilst Ms Lofty was signed off work sick it sought to undertake a review of her attendance. This led to her employment being terminated on 7 December 2015 due to her conduct in failing to attend meetings to discuss her continued absence from work.

Ms Lofty brought  claims to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal and discrimination arising from disability (section 15 Equality Act 2010). For the purposes of the discrimination claim she contended that she had a deemed disability (cancer) and that she was therefore a disabled person for the purposes of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

Unfair dismissal

The Employment Tribunal held that Ms Lofty had been dismissed for a potentially fair reason but that her dismissal had been procedurally unfair – it therefore upheld her claim for unfair dismissal.

Disability discrimination

The Employment Tribunal considered evidence from Ms Lofty’s GP that her condition was a “pre-cancerous” condition and that ‘Lentigo Maligna’ is one of the earliest stages of a skin cancer called melanoma (with the cancer cells not having had the opportunity to spread anywhere else in the body).

The Employment Tribunal held that Ms Lofty’s condition did not amount to a disability as her condition was “pre-cancerous” and did not constitute cancer; she therefore did not have a ‘deemed disability’. The Tribunal went on to hold that her condition did not qualify as a disability for the purposes of section 6 Equality Act 2010.

Ms Lofty appealed against the decision of the Employment Tribunal in respect of its decision that she did not have cancer.

The decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal

The EAT held that the Tribunal had failed to properly analyse the medical evidence provided by Ms Lofty to the Employment Tribunal. The EAT held that on the evidence before it the Tribunal could have only come to one conclusion: that Ms Lofty had cancer and therefore a deemed disability (as it had been established that there were cancerous cells within Ms Lofty’s skin, albeit that they had not spread to other parts of Ms Lofty’s body yet).

The EAT upheld Ms Lofty’s appeal and substituted a finding that she had met the definition of having a condition deemed to be a disability for the purposes of section 6 of Schedule 1 of the Equality Act 2010.

Our solicitors’ comments on Lofty v Hamis t/a First Café

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “This case demonstrates that an Employment Tribunal should not generally engage in nuanced analysis of whether a cancerous, or pre-cancerous, condition, whether minor or major in nature, is a disability. Any form of cancerous condition will almost always constitute a deemed disability under the Equality Act 2010.”

The transcript of the EAT’s decision in Lofty v Hamis t/a First Café can be found here.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.76 Average

    235 Reviews

    Paul O

    Chris & Rana guided me through a redundancy discussion. Prompt & patient assistance with the documents & meetings. Clear advice & fast responses regarding negotiations. Would definitely recommend & would use again without hesitation.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Outstanding, efficient service. Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jaswant S

    Very very happy with the good service I got Thank you so much for your help

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Mel and Chris were fantastic and supportive throughout! 1000% recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Emma D

    Good responsive service

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mike T

    Good efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Brenda G

    Very professional and helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    Charles A

    Chris Hadrill was recommended to me when I found myself in need of a solicitor at very short notice. He contacted me almost immediately to arrange a call. Chris handled my case in a professional and timely manner and kept me notified throughout. Chris inspired confidence and made me feel I was being cared for. If ever I'm in need of legal representation, I would not hesitate to contact Chris. And will gladly recommend him to family and friends.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rosalind R

    I was very happy with the service that I received from Redmans Solicitors. They were able to advise me accordingly with regards to my employment matter and stay within the agreed costing.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karl B

    Caroline and Chris were so helpful and friendly. Couldn't of asked for a better service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dimitrios P

    Excellent, professional service, in time and within the expected value.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Barbara K

    Everything quickly and fairly. Very professional. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sabrina J

    I received a efficient professional service during the whole process of liasing between myself and my former employer to getting all forms signed and receiving my redundancy payment in full in the summer of this year.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I received legal advice on a redundancy settlement agreement from Redmans Solicitors and was very impressed by the quality of their service. Chris Hadrill is highly experienced in settlement matters and was especially understanding of the particulars of my case, going out of his way to ensure that it was resolved quickly and with the utmost professionalism. I have no hesitation in recommending Redmans to anyone in need of employment advice and settlement resolution.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, with full explanations of everything needed. Both Chris and Mel answered all emails very promptly and were personable and efficient.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I would like to thank Chris Hadrill, in particular who handled my case, for all his hard work, expertise and dedication. He listened with empathy and offered suitable advice, which made me feel valued and confident through a difficult time. I would highly recommend Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 1 month ago