European legal victory creates new rights for carers

On 17 July 2008, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that treating employees less favourably because of their association with a disabled person was unlawful.

The case of Sharon Coleman, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission jointly acting with solicitors Bates Wells & Braithwaite London LLP, was referred to the ECJ by an Employment Tribunal in order to determine if ‘disability discrimination by association’ is unlawful. Her case will now have to go back to the Tribunal for a hearing later this year.

In a statement, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that ‘[t]he legal victory in Europe creates new rights for Britain’s six million carers, including those looking after older relatives’.