Home / Insights / Case Study / Disability Discrimination Against PhD Student

Disability Discrimination Against PhD Student

Disability Discrimination Against PhD Student

Who did IBB act for?

IBB Law acted for Ahmed, a disabled Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) student, who suffered with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Ahmed made complaints against their university because they discriminated against him due to him being disabled.

What was the basis of his allegations against the University?

The basis of Ahmed’s claim for disability discrimination against the university were as follows:-

  • lack of support received from Ahmed’s supervisory team despite them being aware of Ahmed’s extenuating circumstances;
  • Ahmed’s physical disability and mental health not being taken into account by the supervisory team;
  • the insistence of an action plan by the supervisory team which was not in line with the University’s procedures; and
  • a perceived threat of withdrawal from the University which lead to Ahmed seeking asylum due to Ahmed’s visa status.

Ahmed had exhausted the internal Complaints Procedure with the University and took their complaint to the Office of the Independent Adjudicator for Higher Education (OIA). Ahmed’s Complaint with the OIA was found to be ‘partly justified’. It was recommended that the University apologise and offered Ahmed compensation for the distress and inconvenience. Ahmed was concerned that the amount offered did not properly compensate for the harm caused by the University and sought our advice.

On analysis of Ahmed’s case, we considered the University was potentially liable for a breach of contract and or negligence.

We obtained evidence from a consultant forensic psychiatrist, who confirmed that the interactions with the University had negatively impacted on the deterioration in Ahmed’s mental state. That report was good evidence thus we entered into correspondence with the University. Following protracted correspondence with them an offer of further compensation was made to Ahmed. The total compensation sum was almost three times the amount they had initially offered to Ahmed by the OIA.