Disability Discrimination Law Must Change Following ECJ Ruling

LAWFUEL – Europe Legal Announcements – A controversial ruling by the Advocate-General at the European Court of Justice has confirmed that UK disability discrimination legislation must be amended to better reflect the essence of European discrimination rights based on the Framework Directive.

In particular, the changes will need to provide that protection from disability discrimination should not just be given to those who have a disability themselves but also to those who are parents or carers of disabled people.

Audrey Williams, head of discrimination law and diversity at Eversheds LLP law firm, said:

“This is a rare and necessary intervention by the ECJ, which has helped to clarify the meaning of the European framework on disability discrimination. This has been an area of uncertainty for employers and employees for some time.

“The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 will need to be amended to ensure that parents and carers of disabled people are properly protected.

“We always advise employers to adopt a flexible approach and take full account of employees’ individual circumstances. They should now take note that workers caring for disabled people have the right to request flexible working arrangements in the same way as disabled workers and careful consideration needs to be given to such requests so that carers are not disadvantaged.”

The Advocate-General’s Opinion will have to be confirmed by the ECJ in due course.

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