An ex-employee of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been told by a judge that his disability discrimination claim will be struck out unless he submits to psychiatric examination by an expert selected by his former employer.
The claimant, who worked as a senior press officer at GCHQ for nine years until his resignation in September 2011, is claiming disability discrimination against his former employers arising out of anxiety and depression.
However, he had refused to co-operate with the obtaining of a psychiatric report by GCHQ. Having declined examination by any of the three experts put forward by GCHQ, he had instead obtained his own psychiatric report.
In refusing to strike out the claimant’s case, an employment tribunal had concluded that, whilst his refusal to cooperate was unjustified, his claim should be permitted to proceed with no psychiatric evidence to be called on either side.
Overturning that decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) found that GCHQ would be significantly disadvantaged if denied the opportunity to properly prepare its case by the obtaining of expert psychiatric evidence.
The EAT stopped short of striking out the claimant’s claim forthwith but issued an ‘unless order’ requiring the claimant to present himself for examination by an expert appointed by GCHQ by a certain date. Judge David Richardson said that a failure to comply with that order would result in the claimant’s claim being struck out.