Can an expectation rather than actual pressure to work count as a PCP?

What amounts to provision, criteria or practice in an Employment Tribunal claim?

It has been held in United First Partners Research v Carreras that a requirement to work long hours does not have to involve actual pressure to amount to a provision, criteria or practice (PCP) for indirect disability discrimination purposes. It was held that an expectation to work long hours is itself a PCP.

The Claimant was an analyst who worked long hours; he was involved in a cycling accident which had a severe impact on him emotionally and physically. After a short period of time away to recover he went back to work on shorter hours and not working late shifts. Subsequently he was repeatedly asked by his employer to re-commence working the late shifts. This was not pitched as a requirement, but rather as a request.

The claimant claimed that this placed pressure on him to say yes even though his body could not manage working long hours due to his disabilities. After an argument with one of the owners of the business, the Claimant decided to resign.

The Employment Tribunal (ET) dismissed the claimant’s claims. The claimant appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) who overruled the ET decision. The Respondent appealed against the EAT decision and this appeal was dismissed. It was held that being asked to work late amounted to a PCP in these circumstances and placed the Claimant under additional pressure and at a disadvantage compared to others. Thus, the Claimant’s claim for disability discrimination was successful.