Disability Discrimination now Includes Family Members

24 September 2015

In the case of Truman v Bibby Distribution Ltd ET/2404176/2014 Mr Truman was suddenly dismissed from his job on the first anniversary of employment after advising his employer he was required to increase his caring responsibilities for his daughter who suffers from cystic fibrosis.

In this instance there was no issue with Mr Truman’s work performance and was received good feedback from his employer.  Mr Truman advised his employer 6 weeks before his dismissal he would have increased caring responsibilities for his daughter who suffers from cystic fibrosis.   On the day he reached one year’s service with the company he was dismissed.  At this point the claimant would be entitled to unpaid ordinary parental leave.

There was no satisfactory explanation provided to the Tribunal for the dismissal i.e. no performance improvement process and no prior indication of concern regarding his performance from management or customers.  The Tribunal would expect to see documentary evidence of deterioration in performance which could not be remedied and as there was no such evidence the conclusion was reached that the reason for the sudden change in attitude was the possibility Mr Truman would be required to spend more time caring for his disabled child.  Accordingly claim in respect of associative disability discrimination on the basis of Mr Truman’s daughter’s disability was upheld.  

A further hearing is due to determine Mr Truman’s remedy .

Employers should proceed with caution in dealings with any employee who is associated to another person with a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.  Such protected characteristics include age; disability; marriage and civil partnerships; race or sexual orientation.

Murphy O'Rawe 'To lead and to guide.' 

Telephone + (44) 028 90326636 for an appointment or email info@murphy-orawe.com.

 

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