In J v DLA Piper LLP the EAT decided that whilst there is a technical difference between “depression” and a reaction to adverse life events in practice little turns on this because the tribunals are concerned to see what impact the symptoms of the impairment are on an individual’s ability to carry out day to day activities. In other words the clinical label attached to the impairment is not what matters, it is the impact the symptoms have on a worker.
The EAT also stated that a GP is fully qualified to express an opinion on whether an individual is suffering from depression. However, in our opinion a specialist in this field may still provide better guidance on a worker’s current impairment and its prognosis. Those acting for both employers and workers may still be better advised to chose to obtain an expert opinion.