Home » Website updates July to August 2019

Website updates July to August 2019

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Last updated 28th August 2019.

Proposed changes on enforcement of Equality Act

Proposals in various reports on enforcing the Equality Act, including two 2019 reports:

  • House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee: Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the EHRC, July 2019;
  • Equality and Human Rights Commission: Access to legal aid for discrimination cases, June 2019.

One report particularly mentions the Financial Ombudsman Service as an enforcement body which has already taken ownership of equality law: see Complaints and going to court: services>Ombudsmen and other enforcement bodies?

Effect of UN disability convention

UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)>Does the CRPD have teeth? updated for the Employment Appeal Tribunal decision in Britlief v Birmingham City Council (bailii.org), 2019.

The court decided that the CRPD does not give a direct right of claim, but can be relevant in interpreting UK legislation such as the Equality Act 2010.

Isle of Man and Channel Islands

Short Isle of Man notes updated, including:

  • implementation of DDA 2006,
  • statutory guidance on definition of disability, and
  • disability discrimination provisions of Equality Act 2017 taking effect from January 2020.

Channel Islands links updated, including Guernsey consultation on discrimination legislation.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland pages updated and some new pages created:

Anderson v Turning Point Eespro

An employment tribunal had made a reasonable adjustment by referring a disabled claimant to the Bar Pro Bono Unit, to get a free legal representative. The Court of Appeal held this was sufficient adjustment, on the facts. The court said normally it is entirely appropriate for a tribunal to leave it to the legal representatives to take the lead in suggesting adjustments for a disabled litigant, though the court has ultimate responsibility. More: Anderson v Turning Point Eespro.

A similar adjustment of facilitating free legal representation could be useful for someone who stammers, where the court is willing to do it.

My Appearing in court page has also been updated for the case.

Perceived disability

Perceived disability page updated to reflect the Court of Appeal decision in Coffey (below).

Direct discrimination pages

Some direct discrimination pages updated:

Swansea University Pension Scheme v Williams

The claimant was entitled to an early pension only because of his disability, but it was less than it would have been for a disability which came on suddenly. It was less because he had reduced his working hours because of his disability. In this 2018 case the Supreme Court held there was no ‘unfavourable treatment’ within s.15 Equality Act 2010. More: Trustees of Swansea University Pension & Assurance Scheme v Williams.

‘Reasonable access’

New link to www.reasonableaccess.org.uk, a “small organisation led by disabled people”. It wants to empower other disabled people in the UK to assert and enforce rights to access. I particularly like the page of County Court decisions on provisions of services, which normally get little publicity.

Linked from my Disability discrimination links page.

C & C v The Governing Body of a School

Regulations say that a tendency to physical abuse cannot be a disability under the Equality Act 2010. It had therefore been held that an autistic child with a tendency to lash out could not claim under the EqA when he was excluded from school. The Upper Tribunal held (in August 2018) that this regulation is incompatible with Article 14 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The regulation came nowhere near striking a fair balance between the rights of children such as this one and the interests of the community. More C & C v The Governing Body of a School.

Owen v Amec Foster Wheeler Energy

An employer refused to send an employee on an assignment to Dubai because of high medical risk. The Court of Appeal held this was not disability discrimination on the facts. Like Coffey below, the case is interesting on direct disability discrimination; it is not enough that the reason for less favourable treatment is ‘indissociable’ from the disability. More: Owen v Amec Foster Wheeler Energy.

Perceived disability: Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey

In 2017 for the first time an appeal court accepted that (direct) discrimination because the claimant is perceived to have a disability is unlawful under the Equality Act. The Court of Appeal has now upheld that decision. The claimant did not need to show she actually had a disability. The case is also important for its discussion of the boundaries of direct discrimination. More: Perceived disability: Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey.

20th anniversary of stammeringlaw, 1999-2019