Ms Lamb was a teacher at The Garrard Academy. She went off sick with reactive depression in February 2012 as a result of a combination of her health, bereavement and being unfairly accused of triggering suicidal ideation in a teenage boy. She was never told the identity of the boy, and believed that he was in one of her regular classes.

Four months later Ms Lamb was told that it was a case of mistaken identity and that she did not have the boy in any of her classes. She raised a grievance in March 2012, but as a result of a number of errors by the school, no decision was reached until January 2013. Her grievance was not upheld. The school agreed at the ET that this was a mistake. She had a recurrence of PTSD during this time and the school knew of this in July 2012.

The EAT looked at when the school could have reasonably known that Ms Lamb suffered from a disability and required reasonable adjustments to carry on her role. The school referred her to occupational health in November 2012; a report of 21 November 2012 found that she had a disability and that it had existed from September 2011. The OH report said that a reasonable adjustment was the most appropriate way of resolving matters.

The school argued that it could only have known that Ms Lamb had a disability after receiving the report. In a detailed examination of the facts, the EAT found that the school had constructive knowledge in July 2012 of the reactive depression (she had been off four months at this point) and actual knowledge of the PTSD, and that she had a disability within the terms of the Equality Act 2010. It held that the school had failed in its duty to make reasonable adjustments.

See Joanne Lamb v The Garrard Academy UKEAT 0042/18