Court rules carers must not be treated less favourably than other staff

The European Court of Justice has ruled that carers must not be treated less favourably than other employees whose circumstances are not materially different, for example those with childcare responsibilities. The case of Attridge Law v Coleman, in which Mrs Coleman alleged she suffered direct discrimination and harassment by association with her disabled son, significantly strengthens the rights of carers who currently only have the right to request flexible working. In particular, she claimed she was not allowed to return to the same role after maternity leave. Jane Amphlett, partner at Addleshaw Goddard, said: “The European Court of Justice has ruled that this ‘associative’ discrimination is prohibited and this extends to association with disabled, elderly or other protected categories.”