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Deaf claimant wrongly had 4 weeks sanction imposed after mistakenly being 10 minutes late for training course

03 September 2015

A deaf claimant who received a four week sanction - stopping all his Jobseeker’s Allowance - after being ten minutes late for a training course has had is appeal upheld by an Upper Tribunal

While the sanction was imposed in November 2013 it took until 14 August 2015 for his appeal to be successfully heard.

The claimant was a 53 year old man who had difficulty hearing and so wore a hearing aid in his right ear.

He was told that he was required to attend and complete a CV writing course from 11.15 am to 12.15 pm. He was given a “Jobseeker’s Direction” letter to confirm the time and date of the course.

However, he arrived at the course ten minutes late and was told that he had missed his appointment. A decision was made that he did not have good reason for failing to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction and a four weeks sanction was imposed.

In his notice of appeal the claimant stated that he had misheard the date of the appointment as 11.50 am as this was the time he usually signed on.

He was not wearing his hearing aid as it was faulty and did not think to check the time of his appointment by looking at the letter he had been given as he thought it was the same time as the previous two appointments he had been given. He had reported to the Jobcentre straight away and rebooked and completed the CV course the very next day.

In upholding the claimant’s appeal, Upper Tribunal Judge Knowles decides that there was no refusal or failure by him to carry out the Jobseeker’s Direction:

“Having regard to all the circumstances, did the Appellant’s late arrival at his CV writing course amount to a failure or a refusal to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction? 

First, the Appellant did not refuse to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction: he was merely 10 minutes late in attending the course. As the Respondent submits, it was inherently improbable that this Appellant would have deliberately attended late given his past record of compliance.

Second, the Appellant’s late arrival was accepted by both the Respondent and the tribunal to have been a genuine error. Third, the Appellant reported his late arrival to the Job Centre that same day and rebooked the CV writing course which he subsequently completed.

Set against these matters is the Appellant’s late arrival contrary to the terms of his Jobseeker’s Direction. However I find that it would be disproportionate to conclude that this factor in isolation was sufficient to amount to a failure by the Appellant to carry out his Jobseeker’s Direction.”

A full summary of this decision and the decision itself are available here