In this case, an employee claimed disability discrimination arising out of anxiety and depression. However, the employee refused to co-operate with the employer in terms of obtaining of a psychiatric report, and refused to attend any of three experts put forward by the employer. The Tribunal determined that, whilst this refusal was unjustified, the claim need not be struck out but could be heard with no expert psychiatric evidence on either side.
The EAT disagreed with this approach on the basis that the employer could not have properly prepared its case without expert evidence and was significantly disadvantaged without the opportunity to obtain it. It held that the correct approach in such circumstances would be to order the employee to present himself for a medical examination by a certain date, with the consequence being that the case would be struck out for non-compliance if the employee failed to do so.
This case serves as a reminder that although an employee can never be forced to submit to a medical examination ordered by his or her employer, there may be adverse consequences for the employee in terms of the employment relationship if he or she refuses to do so.
A link to the full case can be found here (Case name: Government Communications Headquarters and R A Bacchus UKEAT/0373/12/LA).