‘Associative discrimination’ – latest developments

    November 2009

    Employers and HR staff will recall no doubt recall the case concerning Sharon Coleman and her former employer Attridge Law in which Ms Coleman alleged that she had been discriminated against for trying to take time off to care for her disabled son. It went all the way to the European Court of Justice which held that the Equal Treatment Directive protects employees in her position, ie, those who are not themselves disabled but who are prejudiced by association with someone who is. The matter was then referred back to the Employment Tribunal for it to consider whether the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 could be interpreted in line with the Directive. The Tribunal subsequently held that it could and gave Ms Coleman permission to proceed with her claims.