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 name

Your email

Your telephone number

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

176 Reviews

Mohamed A

Super helpful and efficient, trustworthy service

Posted 1 day ago

Anonymous

efficient, responsive and effective

Posted 2 days ago

Andrew B

Very good service

Posted 2 days ago

Anonymous

Excellent service, compassionate and a good outcome

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

I had an employment issue which required legal advice. Chris was very supportive and knowledgeable, resulting in an optimum resolution in my favour. Would definitely recommend.

Posted 1 week ago

David M

Very professional and first-rate advice. I would use again. With thanks,

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Got the job done swiftly without going too much in to detail.

Posted 1 week ago

Derek W

Redmans dealt with my case very efficiently and I was happy with the outcome.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Timely professional advice!

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Very good service

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

I was in contact with Chris and then worked with Caroline on an employment matter. I was very pleased with the service and professionalism throughout, and came away with satisfied with the outcome. Would happily recommend.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Nikki

Received advice re employment law. Chris was very helpful and advised accordingly. Would happily recommend them and if ever I need help again, will not think twice before using them.

Posted 3 weeks ago

Samantha K

Absolutely brilliant thank you. Caroline Lewis is a legend

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The legal advice was clear and helpful.

Posted 2 months ago

Davinder P

Good Service

Posted 2 months ago

Adrian V

I was using Redmans services for a Settlement Agreement. Very quick and professional service. The outcome was favourable and I was very pleased with the amendments and results. Pretty glad to recommend them for any type of legal advice.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very responsive, efficient, clear and supportive. Thank you! Highly recommend.

Posted 2 months ago

Tiago S

Chris was always prompt to help me with legal matters that are beyond my comprehension and very helpful leasing with my former employer. I would recommend Redmans Solicitors to everyone who needs help.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional advice tailored to what was needed. Thanks for your help Chris Hadrill and team.

Posted 2 months ago

Peter S

Really pleased with the outcome and the advice I had from Chris and Sacha.

Posted 2 months ago

Harika A

Redmans solicitor's helped me with my settlement agreement, Chris has been very helpful throughout the process.He was very prompt in his responses and made my settlement look simple.Special thanks to Caroline for her efficient communication, thorough explaination of contract terminology and negotiations.I highly reccommend Redmans solicitors for anyone seeking employment related legal help.

Posted 2 months ago