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Employment Law

Legal guidance - compliance - software

09 OCT 2014

Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence [2014] IRLR 728; [2014] EWCA Civ 763; (2014) EMPLR 054

Edward  Benson

Partner

13 May 2014

Court of Appeal, Civil Division

Laws, Tomlinson and Briggs LJJ

The duty to make reasonable adjustments where an employer’s provision, criterion or practice places a disabled employee at a particular disadvantage does not extend to situations where the employee is not disabled but is a carer for a disabled person.

H was a civilian employed by the British armed forces in Germany. She requested a compassionate transfer to the UK to enable her daughter, who had Downs Syndrome, to have specialist education. Her request was refused. She complained that the Ministry of Defence had failed to comply with its duty to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate her daughter’s disability.

The Court of Appeal rejected the claim. The duty to make reasonable adjustments applies only where the employee him or herself is disabled. That is different from the situation where an employee is treated less favourably because, though not disabled themselves, they are carers for someone who is disabled. In such a situation, the employee is treated less favourably, in breach of the rules on disability discrimination, because the reason for the treatment is disability.
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