Landmark disability ruling could pave way for extended protection for working carers

A landmark employment appeal decision has the potential to provide new protection for millions of the UK’s working carers, legal experts have claimed.

Sharon Coleman has won the right for an unfair treatment claim against her employer under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) to proceed to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) later this year.

Coleman claims she was unlawfully discriminated against by her employer, London solicitors Attridge Law, due to her four-year-old son’s disability.

She claims she resigned after the firm failed to grant flexible working, despite other employees with non-disabled children having no obstacles.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the original tribunal decision to get the ECJ to clarify the issue.

Lucy McLynn, a partner in the employment department at law firm Bates, Wells & Braithwaite’s, which acted for Coleman, said: “It makes no sense that there is protection from less favourable treatment of, say, a wife on the grounds of her mixed-race marriage, but not for having a disabled son.

“This not only leaves carers unprotected when they are a particularly vulnerable group, but also creates uncertainty for employers.”


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