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Hansard on direct discrimination

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Last updated 31st December 2008.

Not a case, but a quote from Hansard:

Baroness Hollis’ statements in the House of Lords may help the argument that decisions based on stereotyped and generalised assumptions of advisers cannot be justified. The statements are in Hansard 10th June 2003 col 149 (link to Hansard) in response to Baroness Wilkins’ question at col 142 (link to Hansard).

Baroness Hollis for the Goverment considered that where an employer refused to employ someone simply because of prejudiced and generalised assumptions, the person could bring a successful DDA case.

“If, for example, someone had a history of depression and it was said that they could not do their job because it meant engaging with the public, that might well be a case of prima facie direct discrimination. The employer might rely on a statement by an occupational health adviser, who would have no knowledge of the person’s individual circumstances. The adviser might decide that all people with clinical depression have terrible mood swings and therefore they cannot deal with the public and should not be employed in a call centre, for example. That would count as direct discrimination and would be covered in that situation.”

Baroness Hollis commented that obviously such a case would have to be tested at law. If she needed to qualify what she had said, she would come back to Baroness Wilkins.

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