An issue of fitness

An ongoing employment tribunal claim this week is considering whether Surrey Police have discriminated against an employee after she failed a bleep test.

The Detective Constable (Rebecca Tiffin) is suing Surrey Police for disability and sex discrimination. She has an underactive thyroid gland and says that this has caused issues with weight gain, depression, stress and anxiety and allegedly has a history of regular absences from work. In 2012 her new line manager introduced a new training regime which involved a bleep test. This involves running back and forth between two cones in increasingly shorter periods of time.

On the first arranged date Tiffin asked for the training to be rescheduled as she had childcare issues. The employer allegedly told her this was not good enough. She did attend the training on that date but had a sinus infection so did not take part in the bleep test- She therefore failed the training. A month later she was told she had four months to retake the training and pass. Unfortunately, Tiffin failed the bleep tests after a few attempts and was therefore put into the unsatisfactory performance procedure which could have lead to her dismissal from the police force. Surrey Police say that all officers are required to pass the test to show they are fit enough to carry out their duties and that they had made efforts to allow Tiffin to take part in practice runs to help her prepare for the tests. Tiffin says that her disabilities are ultimately the reason she was unable to pass the test.

We doubt many car dealers will be putting their employees through bleep tests, however, it is worth noting the impact that disabilities can have on various roles employees are expected to carry out and therefore if employees are suffering from health conditions then you should always seek advice when dealing with such issues.

The tribunal is ongoing and we will keep you up to date with the outcome of the hearing.


Authors: Stephanie Ball

Published: 04 May 2017


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