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Coleman v Attridge Law & Stephen Law - C-303/06

Summary

Carer wins her discrimination case in the European Court of Justice

A carer, Sharon Coleman, claimed she was harassed into resigning from her job because she has a disabled son and that she suffered "discrimination by association". She appealed to an Employment Tribunal who referred the case to the European Court of Justice.

European Court of Justice ruling

"The Court concludes that the directive must be interpreted as meaning that the prohibition of direct discrimination laid down therein is not limited only to people who are disabled. Consequently, where an employer treats an employee who is not himself disabled less favourably than another employee in a comparable situation, and it is established that the less favourable treatment of that employee is based on the disability of his child, whose care is provided primarily by that employee, such treatment is contrary to the prohibition of direct discrimination laid down by the directive."

"With regard to harassment, the Court adopts identical reasoning and concludes that the relevant provisions of the directive are not limited only to people who are themselves disabled. Where it is established that unwanted conduct amounting to harassment is suffered by an employee in the same situation as that of Ms Coleman, such conduct is contrary to the prohibition of harassment laid down by the directive."

[Taken from European Court of Justice press release]

Sharon Coleman's case will now be referred back to an Employment Tribunal.

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