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Understanding discrimination

June 19, 2023

At our recent #AsktheExpert June Masterclass, we discussed all things carers.

We have highlighted in recent posts how to support carers and what leave entitlements they have. Regrettably, we are often consulted when things go wrong, frequently around discrimination issues.

Here are some top tips to help keep employers right.

  1. Does the employee have a protected characteristic?In most cases the answer will be no, but consider that where the employee finds their caring role difficult and hard to cope, they may suffer from anxiety, low mood or depression. While on the face of it you may think that they are fine, don’t make costly assumptions.
  2. Beware of discrimination by association. Employers often forget that the discrimination legislation offers protection even where the employee them self does not have a protected characteristic. For instance, a carer providing care to a disabled person within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010 (disability is a protected characteristic) is protected from discrimination by association. This means in the event they suffer from less favourable treatment because of their association with the disabled person to whom they provide care, they can bring a (costly) claim. Always be mindful of discrimination issues in these cases.
  3. No need to make reasonable adjustments for carers. The duty to make reasonable adjustments is only triggered where the employee has a relevant disability. There is, however, a duty to make reasonable adjustments for a carer with a disability, for example, depression.

If you need help in relation to discrimination in your workplace, then please get in touch.

If you would like to sign up for our next Ask the Expert then please do so using the following link, if you have questions or suggestions for future sessions then please send them to asktheexpert@blackadders.co.uk.

Donna Reynolds, Partner
Accredited by the Law Society of Scotland as a Specialist in Employment Law & Discrimination Law
@EmpLawyerDonna

Blair Duncan, Senior Solicitor
@EmpLawyerBlair
LinkedIn

The opinions expressed in this site are of the author(s) only and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Blackadders LLP.

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