MOD Employee Fails to Overturn EAT Original Judgment
The Court of Appeal has recently upheld the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) decision last year that an employer does not have a duty to make reasonable adjustments for an individual associated with a disabled person.
In Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence the appellant was not disabled but her daughter has Down’s Syndrome. The appellant as she was based in Germany requested a compassionate transfer to the UK as the facilities she required for her daughter were not available in Germany. The request was refused by her employer.
The appellant took the matter to a Tribunal and alleged her employer breached their obligation to make reasonable adjustments.
The EAT held that although the concept of associative discrimination applies to direct discrimination an employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments only applies when the employee themselves are disabled.
The Court of Appeal have made it clear that the employer’s requirements to make reasonable adjustments applies only to disabled employees and job applicants not those associated with a disabled person.
However it is important that employees and employers to note that from 30 June 2014 any employee can make a flexible working request. This will undoubtedly apply to employees who are struggling to cope with standard working hours due to family reasons.
Author: Nicola Williams