The claimant (X), who was disabled, applied to be a volunteer with the Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) working four to five hours per week. She signed a volunteer agreement described as being "binding in honour only... and not a contract of employment or legally binding".
Despite providing a range of advice work for the CAB, 25-30% of the time, X did not attend the bureau when expected to do so. The bureau did not object to this or to X changing the days on which she volunteered.
Volunteering was not a prerequisite for paid employment with the CAB, and it was not guaranteed that volunteering would lead to paid employment (in fact volunteers were not given preferential treatment in applying for paid jobs with the bureau, and all paid posts were advertised externally). X was asked to stop volunteering at the CAB and, as a result, she brought a claim for disability discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The first hearing was at the Employment Tribunal.
X argued that section 68 of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) should be interpreted widely to cover her by deeming her to have been "in employment", thus giving her protection under the existing DDA. But the tribunal found that X was a volunteer, that there was no legally binding contract between her and the CAB, and that there was no obligation on the claimant to provide services.
As such, in the absence of a contract the tribunal decided, by way of preliminary issue, that as the claimant was not "in employment" for the purposes of the DDA, it did not have jurisdiction to consider X's claim. She then appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), where she argued that the Equal Treatment Framework Directive (the directive) had not been properly implemented by the UK government, and that as such her volunteering arrangement with the CAB did in fact fall within the ambit of the directive. On this basis, sections 4(2) and 68 of the DDA did not comply with European law, and consequently they s