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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.