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IBS
Campuses

HROB/115
IBS Center for Management Research








Flexibility in the Workplace & Discrimination by Association: Sharon Coleman Vs Attridge Law
This case was written by Debapratim Purkayastha, IBS Center for Management Research. It was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion rather than to illustrate
either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation.



License to use for IBS Campuses (PGPM)
Sem-IV, Class of 2012-2014




2008, IBS Center for Management Research. All rights reserved.
To order copies, call +91-08417-236667/68 or write to IBS Center for Management Research (ICMR), IFHE Campus, Donthanapally, Sankarapally Road, Hyderabad 501 504, Andhra Pradesh, India or email:
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HROB/115
Flexibility in the Workplace & Discrimination by Association: Sharon
Coleman Vs Attridge Law
[A]ll employers in the public and private sector would do well to revisit their policies and procedures in light of this decision. Particular
attention should be given to ensuring that equal opportunity, anti-harassment, anti-discrimination, and absence policies comply, and that they have a
clear understanding of who may be affected by this change in the law Employers should also consider how their flexible working policies will be
implemented.
[1]
- Ed Williams, a barrister specialising in employment and discrimination law with the London chambers, Cloisters, in 2008
It just didnt seem fair that colleagues who didnt have disabled children were given much more flexibility.
[2]
- Sharon Coleman, Carers UK, regarding her stint at Attridge Law firm, the company she sued for allegedly discriminating against her
because she had a disabled child, in 2008
Im a father of a badly disabled son and I find the accusations particularly offensive. Its a test case and I can understand that it is an important
policy decision. I actually have quite a lot of sympathy with the policy (issue), but I do not have any sympathy with her allegations. If they were going
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to choose a test case, I wish they had chosen one with more substance.
[3]
- Stephen Law, Attridge Law Firm, one of the defendents in the lawsuit, in 2007
INTRODUCTION
In July 2008, Sharon Coleman (Coleman), a former legal secretary, won a legal battle in the European Court of Justice
[4]
(ECJ) against her employers Attridge
Law (now called EBR Attridge LLP), whom she accused of discriminating against her at the workplace and of having forced her into accepting voluntary
redundancy.
At the time of accepting voluntary redundancy, Coleman had a 4-year-old son who was disabled. He was born with a medical condition that led to his having
difficulties in breathing and hearing. According to Coleman, she was treated differently at work from other employees, who had normal children. She
approached the court with her case in August 2005, claiming constructive dismissal and disability discrimination by virtue of being discriminated against
because of association with a disabled person, or in other words, discrimination by association. Her case was initially heard at a UK Employment Tribunal, which
referred the case to the ECJ to see if current European Union (EU) legislation could apply to people caring for a disabled person. On July 17, 2008, the European
Court ruled in her favor.
The case was then to return to the UK and be heard by the Employment Tribunal that had originally referred it to the ECJ. The Tribunal was expected to then
attempt to interpret the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) to cover discrimination by association. The Act would have to be amended if the Tribunal was
unable to use the laws prevailing at the time. The decision was expected to pave the way for other carers to make similar claims and experts warned that it
would lead to many more such claims being made. Louise Donaldson, an employment lawyer with law firm Pinsent Masons LLP, said, A carer of a disabled
person may have a much stronger weapon in terms of being able to bring a disability discrimination claim if their request to work flexibly is refused. Although
flexible working is an obvious area where associative discrimination comes into play, any less favourable treatment which is shown to be by reason of a persons
association with a disabled person will give grounds for a disability discrimination claim.
[5]
Experts said the ruling would also create the potential for the law to
apply to other kinds of discriminations by association such as age discrimination.
They felt that this decision could have huge implications for organizations in general and their human resource (HR) managers in particular. Employers now
need to look at their recruitment and other workplace policies to make sure they are not discriminating against staff who have disabled family members or
friends,
[6]
said Brendan Barber, general secretary, Trades Union Congress
[7]
(TUC).
DISCRIMINATION AT THE WORKPLACE
Discrimination occurs when an employee suffers unfavorable or unfair treatment due to their race, religion, national origin, disabled, or veteran status, or other
legally protected characteristics. This group could also include employees who are targeted/ victimized for opposing workplace discrimination or for reporting
violations to the authorities.
Analysts felt that discrimination at the workplace was a common phenomenon, and occurred at some level in every organization. Most developed countries had
strict laws in place to counter this. For instance, the US Federal law prohibited discrimination in a number of work-related areas, including recruiting, hiring, job
evaluations, promotion policies, training, compensation, and disciplinary action.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act and other anti-discrimination laws are in place in the US. In 1967, Congress prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of age
and, in 1990, prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of disability.
[8]
Some state and local governments prohibited employment discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation.
However, experts felt that there had been strong resistance to the enforcement of existing laws. Discriminatory employment practices had become more subtle
and more difficult to identify and correct. Experts felt that African Americans continued to face discrimination, suffering from racial and negative stereotypes
and subconscious bias. Same is the case with other racial and national origin groups, especially those identifiable by facial features or skin color. This limits the
ability of members of these groups to obtain fair treatment in hiring, evaluations, promotions, and other aspects of employment.
Most women continued to work in jobs stereotyped as female jobs, and women in nearly all job categories received less pay than males in the same job
categories. Women faced limits on promotion to high level management positions because of conscious and subconscious gender bias, and continued to
experience sexual harassment on the job. Pregnant women suffered from discrimination in hiring, promotion, and job performance evaluation because of false
assumptions about their ability to work, and women with family care giving responsibilities too were at a disadvantage, according to experts. Older workers too
were often evaluated on the basis of false and negative stereotypes, and suffered disproportionately when employers lay off workers.
While many Europeans felt that such discrimination at the workplace was essentially an American problem, experts believed that it was a problem in Europe as
well. According to the European Commissions Survey on Racism and Xenophobia (conducted between March 25 and April 29, 1997, in the EU member
countries), 88 percent of those interviewed said that an individuals qualifications should be the sole criterion for employment, while 70 percent agreed that
minority groups are being discriminated against in the job market.[9] Another EU survey published in 2008 found that discrimination remained a huge problem,
particularly on the grounds of sexual orientation (51 percent), disability (45 percent), age, and religion (42 percent each).[10]
Policy markers in the EU had taken various policy initiatives to prevent discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex, national origin, age, and disability, and
these also applied to the workplace. For instance, the European Framework Employment Directive broadly covered discrimination in the area of employment,
where the discrimination was on grounds of religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation. Both direct and indirect discrimination were covered, and there
was a requirement to make reasonable accommodation for disabled people.
The UK too had enacted various laws to prevent discrimination at the workplace. Some of the European laws were relevant to discrimination or equal pay
claims in England, Scotland, and Wales (Refer to Exhibit I for an overview of relevant European law). For instance, though the European Framework
Employment Directive was not directly applicable in member states such as the UK, it could still be considered by courts in the UK where the local law was
ambiguous or failed to implement the directive.
Discrimination at the workplace was also a problem in the UK. For instance, a report published in 2007 said that its survey of 122 recruitment agencies in the
UK found that disabled people were 29 percent less likely to be in employment than non-disabled people. It also found that women with young children faced
more discrimination at the workplace than disabled people or those from ethnic minorities. According to the report, a partnered mother with a child aged under 11
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was 45 percent less likely to be in work than a partnered man, and more than 70 percent of the recruitment agencies surveyed had been asked by clients to avoid
hiring pregnant women or those of childbearing age.[11]
There were laws in the UK against discrimination on the ground of disability but the protection did not apply to those who took care of the disabled (Refer to
Exhibit II for the UK Law on Disability Discrimination). In the UK, associative discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation, religion, and racial grounds
was unlawful.[12] Those associated with people of another race, religion or beliefs, or sexual orientation, were protected through the Race Relations Act 1976,
the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, and the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 respectively but there was
no provision for associative discrimination on the grounds of disability.[13]
According to British law, employees had the statutory right to apply for flexible working arrangements. According to the Federation of Small Businesses[14]
(FSB), 90 percent of such requests were agreed to by employers.[15] However, on certain occasions, employers had been accused of discriminating among
employees while providing flexible working arrangements (Refer to Exhibit III for a brief note on flexible working, and Exhibit IV for UK law on Flexible
Working).
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
Attridge Law was founded in 1982 in North London as a general common practice. As of 2008, it had five offices in the Central London area. It had 6 partners
and over 35 lawyers who included a number of in-house advocates operating in all the higher courts including the Crown Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, and
House of Lords. It was also accredited by the Law Society for training purposes. The firm changed its name in 2007 to EBR Attridge LLP after becoming a
Limited Liability Partnership.
Coleman had joined Attridge Law in 2001 as a legal secretary. Her son Oliver was born in 2002, with several disabilities. His trachea (windpipe) was under
developed, and was prone to collapsing. This caused him to stop breathing sometimes up to 50 times during a day or night. He also had a banana foot, which
required intensive massage. As he grew up, Coleman discovered that Oliver also had severe hearing difficulties. He needed constant medical supervision, and
was required to be moved around all the time, so that his windpipe would not collapse. At one point, he even had to be fed by a gastric tube. The first few
months of his life were spent visiting various hospitals for treatment. At this point, Colemans relationship with the father of the child also broke down, and she
became a single mother.
Coleman was unable to find a nurse or to place Oliver at a day care centre, as her son was considered a health and safety risk. Even when the child was
accompanied by a trained child minder, care centers were unwilling to take the responsibility for a sick child. According to Coleman, she did not want to give up
work, as she had a mortgage, and she did not want to survive on state benefits. Work lifts your confidence too, you meet people and you dont feel so
isolated,[16] she said.
Coleman claimed that on her return from maternity leave, she was not allowed to do her previous job; instead she was asked to do clerical jobs and run errands.
Moreover, when her maternity leave ended, Oliver was just due for his first operation. She asked her company for four weeks unpaid parental leave, to be able
to take care of her son during his operation and recuperation, as well as look for child care for her son. She alleged that her company refused to grant her
extended leave, so she was forced to use her annual leave entitlement.
Once she was back at work, Coleman needed to take frequent leave to take care of her son and take him to hospital for regular checkups. She claimed that she
felt that she was being discriminated against for having a disabled child she said that other people in her office who had non-disabled children were offered
much more flexibility than she was when their children required attention. Coleman said, They knew about my sons problems because I took him into the
office, but they wouldnt allow me to work flexibly to make it easier to look after him. Other members of staff were taking time off for hospital appointments or
worked from home but my requests were always turned down.[17] She claimed that she had to use annual leave so she could look after Oliver when he had a
second operation at the age of two and a half years, yet when another colleagues son had his tonsils removed, that person was allowed to work from home for
three weeks, something denied to her.
Coleman alleged that when she applied for flexible working hours or asked for being allowed to work from home like some other colleagues did, she faced a
battery of criticism and insults. One of the partners of the firm, Steve Law, allegedly commented that her [explitive] child was always [explitive] sick.[18]
She was allegedly called lazy and accused of taking advantage of her sons condition to manipulate her work conditions.[19] She also alleged that the formal
grievance she had lodged with the firm against the ill treatment meted to her was not dealt with properly prompting her to withdraw it. She also claimed that she
had been threatened with disciplinary action and dismissal when she occasionally arrived late at office due to her sons condition. She argued that her co-
workers were not reprimanded under similar circumstances.
In early 2005, there was an announcement that the firm needed to make one secretary redundant. She said that she felt that everyone wanted her to leave, but
she was determined not to give in. But many of her colleagues allegedly pressured her into leaving. Everyone knew they meant me I was determined not to
give in but some colleagues became stressed at the prospect of losing their jobs, and suggested I should be the one to take it,[20] said Coleman. She said that
she felt forced into resigning. She emailed a partner of the firm, and he immediately agreed that she could leave the company by the end of the week. She left
her job in March 2005. After that, Coleman took up some temporary jobs before finding a permanent job in the local government.[21]
COLEMAN SUES ATTRIDGE LAW & STEVE LAW
Coleman maintained that she had been forced into redundancy and that she had been discriminated against because she had a disabled son. After hearing her
story, one of her friends told her that she could file a case of constructive dismissal -- as someone who had been forced out of a job rather than sacked.
Coleman decided she wanted to sue, and she came into contact with her solicitor, Lucy McLynn (McLynn) of Bates Wells and Braithwaite (law firm). McLynn
agreed that Coleman had a case for constructive dismissal and suggested that she had been a victim of workplace disability discrimination by association, or in
other words, that she had been discriminated against because she was associated with a disabled person.
Coleman filed for constructive dismissal and discrimination by association in August 2005. Her former employers, Attridge Law, disputed the allegation saying
that since Coleman herself was not disabled, she had no claim as the DDA only covered discrimination and harassment against the disabled person
himself/herself.[22] In reply, Colemans lawyers pointed out that the European Framework Employment Directive, with which the DDA was required to comply,
was not limited in that way. McLynn also argued that if the directive did extend to claims by people associated with the disabled person, the DDA was capable
of being interpreted so as to include these claims, without distorting the words of the statute.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal agreed to this point and the case was then referred to the European Court of Justice to establish whether or not the European
Framework Employment Directive included discrimination against or harassment of someone other than the disabled person, who was associated with the
disabled person, the carer, or in this case, the disabled persons mother.[23] Colemans lawsuit found backing from the Disability Rights Commission[24] (now,
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the Equality & Human Rights Commission).
Attridge Law had throughout denied the allegations. Stephen Law, the other defendant in the case, said that he had probably made the comment regarding
Colemans son but added that Coleman was a chronic offender who often arrived late to work. He alleged that she took advantage of the compassion shown to
her by her employer. He argued that being a parent of a disabled child himself, he could relate to the problems of carers and the policy implications. However, he
maintained that Coleman had been treated favourably and her allegations against the defendents lacked substance.[25]
THE RULING
That the ruling would be in favor of Coleman became somewhat apparent in January 2007, when the Advocate General, Poiares Maduro, said that one way of
undermining the dignity and autonomy of people ... is to target not them, but third persons who are closely associated with them A robust conception of
equality entails that these subtler forms of discrimination should also be caught by anti-discrimination legislation.[26] The Advocate Generals statement was
splashed across the pages of newspapers in the UK, and Colemans case was considered a landmark one. Though not binding, the Advocate Generals opinion
is followed in 80 percent of cases.[27]
Later in the year, the judges at the EJC agreed unanimously that Coleman had the right to claim discrimination by association if she had been harassed and
branded as lazy for wanting flexibility to look after her child.[28] (Refer to Box I for the EJC ruling)
Box I
The EJC Ruling on the S. Coleman v Attridge Law and Steve Law Case
1. Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000 establishing a general framework for equal
treatment in employment and occupation, and, in particular, Articles 1 and 2(1) and (2)(a)
thereof, must be interpreted as meaning that the prohibition of direct discrimination laid down
by those provisions is not limited only to people who are themselves disabled. Where an
employer treats an employee who is not himself disabled less favorably than another employee
is, has been, or would be treated in a comparable situation, and it is established that the less
favorable 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 Article 2(2)(a).
2. Directive 2000/78, and, in particular, Articles 1 and 2(1) and (3) thereof, must be interpreted as
meaning that the prohibition of harassment laid down by those provisions is not limited only to people
who are themselves disabled. Where it is established that the unwanted conduct amounting to
harassment which is suffered by an employee who is not himself disabled is related to the disability
of his child, whose care is provided primarily by that employee, such conduct is contrary to the
prohibition of harassment laid down by Article 2(3).
Source: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:62006J0303:EN:HTML
IMPLICATIONS FOR EMPLOYERS
The ruling was the first of its kind, expanding the scope of employment discrimination under the European Law to include those who were associated with or
responsible for a disabled person. Experts felt that the ruling would change the way requests for flexible working by carers would be treated. It would mean that
UK employers would have to offer more flexibility to employees who were the primary carers for disabled dependents. It would also render any form of
harassment and threats targeted at carers unlawful. According to an estimate, there were about six million such people in the UK at the time of the ruling and
this was expected to grow to nine million by 2038.[29] The Equality and Human Rights Commissions legal director, John Wadham, welcomed the ruling and said
that it provided new rights to millions of carers in the UK, 60 percent of them, women.[30] In 2008, the number of people in Scotland who had jobs and cared for
disabled relatives was 250,000.[31] Campaigners in Scotland welcomed the decision, and at the same time asked for more action to ensure that the benefits were
extended to all carers. Patrick Begley, director of Carers Scotland[32], said: This is an historic step towards true equality for unpaid carers. Too many carers
face discrimination at work, yet they are the bedrock of our communities and society.[33] Moreover, experts felt that the change in law would be applicable in
all the 27 countries that were part of the EU. Employers in all these countries would be susceptible to lawsuits from carers.[34] Experts said that the verdict
meant that the ruling would also apply to other areas of discrimination, such as discrimination by association on grounds of age or HIV positive status.
Experts felt that employers on the wrong side of the law might have to pay dearly as they could end up facing a lot of lawsuits and unlimited compensation
claims. This was particularly the case as the burden of proof fell upon them to prove that they had not discriminated against the employee. They said that
companies had to revisit their HR policies, and office cultures. Besides, the hostile attitudes of employees toward colleagues who were carers needed to change.
[35] Catherine Barker, an employment lawyer with law firm Pinsent Masons LLP, said, This is going to have potentially huge implications for employers who
will need to be sensitive to the needs of those with caring responsibilities They should be sensitive to all requests for flexible working and ensure that people
arent given the worst jobs or made to feel less valuable simply because they have to leave at a certain time of day. You cant have a culture where one size fits
all.[36]
Audrey Williams (Williams), head of discrimination law at London-based Eversheds LLP, felt that public sector employers had to comply with the change in the
law immediately while the private sector could afford to wait until the DDA was reinterpreted by the UK courts.[37] However, it was better if the companies
revisited their policies sooner rather than later. Experts felt that the companies should ensure that their policies were applied evenly. Where they need to be
particularly careful is around consistency and fair treatment. If you are treating people consistently, that takes you a long way from the risk,[38] said Williams.
When refusing a request, the employer had to be extra careful and thoroughly satisfied that it had not treated the carers less favourably than someone whose
circumstances are not materially different (such as requesting flexibility for childcare).[39]
Tough Time for Employers
Though widely welcomed and accepted, the ruling also had a few people worried about the impact on employees who did not have the added responsibility of
caring for someone at home. Speaking from an employer perspective, the ruling would have huge consequences for flexible working requests in the workplace
and could open the floodgates to claims which employers can ill afford during the current period of economic uncertainty,[40] said Fraser Younson, partner
and head of employment practice at Berwin Leighton Paisner. Further, since the ruling was to extend to all carers, it would be applicable to not only carers with
disabled children, but any dependent such as an elderly relative. .
Shortly after the Advocate Generals backing of the case, the FSB said that the change in law could vitiate the workplace atmosphere. This may sour industrial
relations in the workplace Sometimes resentment from other staff has to be dealt with,[41] said Stephen Alambritis, chief spokesman, FSB. The employers
also had to explain the legislation to staff so that they were not accused of favoritism when carers took time off. In newspapers with interactive forums, many
readers said that they found the judgement unfair to those who did not have additional responsibilities, and would have to end up doing extra work for no extra
pay, to cover for people who took time off to care for their dependents. Some also feared that employers would just not employ women in the child bearing age,
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or who had any dependents that needed care. Moreover, such flexibility could not be provided in all types of jobs and the law could put undue pressure on the
companies, particularly the small businesses, they felt.
In addition to this, there was the problem of frivolous claims. Marian Bloodworth, an employment lawyer with Lovells LLP, said, How is an employer expected
to know whether an employees relative is disabled for the purposes of the Act? They will be put in a very difficult position as there are real sensitivities, not to
mention confidentiality and data protection issues, in asking for medical evidence of disability from someone with whom they have no employment relationship
Will employers simply be expected to take an employees word for the fact that their relative is disabled?[42]
No Automatic Right to Flexible Working
Mace & Jones employment law partner, Phil Allen, said, The decision does not necessarily go as far as may have been feared To avoid disability
discrimination, employers are under a positive duty to go the extra mile for those with disabilities, including adapting premises, changing working arrangements,
and providing additional training. However, the new extended carer rights will not go this far. The obligation is to treat those who care for people with disabilities
no less favourably than others. This is less onerous than the obligation to positively make adjustments as is the case for employees with disabilities.[43]
Nor did the ruling provide the carers with any automatic right to demand flexible working arrangements. Some experts claimed that the ruling, while giving
significant protection to the employee, did not compel employers to allow flexible working to its employees which it had earlier legitimately refused. This is an
important ruling. But it doesnt give carers the right to barge into their bosss office and start demanding wholesale changes to their working conditions,[44] said
Alex Lock, an employment partner at law firm Beachcroft LLP.
Colemans lawyer Mclynn had earlier stated that the fight was not for seeking a standalone right to flexible working (or any such adjustments) for carers but to
fight for the rights of carers not to be discriminated against because of their association with a disabled dependent. Although one feature of Sharon Colemans
case is that she was refused flexible working arrangements, it is not this refusal in itself that she is complaining about. It is the refusal to allow her to work
flexibly in the context of other staff being permitted to do so, that has given rise to the allegation of discrimination. If Attridge Law had not permitted anyone to
work flexibly, then Coleman would have no cause for complaint. Her argument is that she was treated less favourably than other staff parents of non-
disabled children who were given flexibility,[45] she wrote.
Exhibit I
An overview of European Law Relevant to Discrimination or Equal Pay Claims in England, Scotland and Wales
European Union (EU) law is part of the domestic law in England, Wales, and Scotland because of
the European Communities Act 1972. The effect of this is that UK tribunals and courts must,
wherever possible, interpret domestic law in accordance with EU law. Where EU law has direct
effect, this would take precedence over domestic law and individuals would be able to rely on EU
law where domestic law does not provide a remedy. EU law has direct effect in the following
cases:
Any individual can rely on A141 (ex A119) Treaty of Rome in equal pay cases
Individuals bringing a claim against an emanation of the state (which includes employers in
the public sector) can rely on provisions of EU Directives where those provisions are:
sufficiently clear and precise; unconditional and unqualified; and not subject to further
implementing measures.
Recommendations are not binding on UK tribunals and courts, but may be taken into account as
an aid to interpretation of domestic law.
Article 141 (ex 119) Treaty of Rome (Treaty Establishing the European Community)
This provides that men and women should receive equal pay for equal work.
Equal Pay Directive (75/117)
This provides that all discrimination on the ground of sex in respect of all aspects of pay should be
eliminated.
Equal Treatment Directive (75/207)
This provides that there should be no discrimination on grounds of sex, either directly or indirectly,
nor by reference to marital or family status, in access to employment, training, working conditions,
promotion or dismissal.
Equal Treatment (Amendment) Directive (2002/73)
This amends the Equal Treatment Directive, most importantly by adding a definition of sexual
harassment and of harassment. The UK is required to implement the changes required by the
directive by September 2005.
Social Security Directive (79/7)
This requires equal treatment of men and women in statutory schemes providing protection against
sickness, invalidity, old age, accidents at work, and occupational diseases and unemployment. It
does not require equalization of pension ages.
Occupational Social Security Directive (86/378)
This aims to implement the principle of equal treatment for men and women in occupational social
security schemes.
Pregnant Workers Directive (92/85)
This requires minimum measures to improve the safety and health at work of pregnant women and
women who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding, including a right to maternity leave.
Working Time Directive (93/104)
This provides for minimum health and safety requirements for the organization of working time. It
requires minimum periods of daily and weekly rest and annual leave, breaks, and maximum weekly
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working time. It contains provisions relating to night work, shift work, and other patterns of work.
Parental Leave Directive (96/34)
This provides for all parents of children up to a given age to be defined by Member States, to be
given up to 3 months' unpaid parental leave. It also provides for individuals to take unpaid time off
when a dependant is ill or injured.
Burden of Proof Directive (97/80)
This requires any necessary changes in Member States' judicial systems to ensure more effective
implementation of the principle of equal treatment.
Part-time Workers Directive (98/23)
This prohibits discrimination against part-time workers unless justified on objective grounds. It
requires part-time workers to receive pay and benefits given to full-timers, on a pro-rata basis. It
does not require a right to work part-time.
Framework Directive on Fixed Term Work (99/70)
This aims to prevent fixed term workers from being less favorably treated than permanent
workers unless the difference in treatment is objectively justified and to limit the use of successive
fixed term contracts.
Framework Directive for Equal Treatment in Employment and Occupation (2000/78)
This requires Member States to implement legislation prohibiting discrimination on grounds of
sexual orientation and religious discrimination by 2 December 2003 and on grounds of age and
disability by 2 December 2006.
European Commission Recommendation and Code of Practice on the protection of the
dignity of women and men at work (92/131)
This contains recommendations to employers, trade unions, and employees on avoiding and dealing
with sexual harassment.
European Council Recommendation on Childcare (92/24)
This recommends initiatives so that the workplace takes into account the needs of all working
parents with responsibility for the care of children.
Source: http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/eoc/Default87ac.html?page=15500
Exhibit II
The UK Law on Disability Discrimination
In the UK, anyone discriminated against on the grounds of disability is protected by
The Disability Discrimination Act
The Human Rights Act.
Disability Discrimination Act
The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 aims to end the discrimination that many disabled people
face. This Act has been significantly extended, including by the Disability Discrimination Act 2005. It
now provides disabled people rights in the areas of:
employment
education
access to goods, facilities, and services
buying or renting land or property, including making it easier for disabled people to rent property
and for tenants to make disability-related adaptations
The Act also requires public bodies to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. It allows the
government to set minimum standards so that disabled people can use public transport easily.
Human Rights Act
The Human Rights Act brings into UK law the rights the citizens have under the European Convention
on Human Rights. If anyone experiences discrimination on the grounds of disability, he/she may have a
case under both the Human Rights Act and the Disability Discrimination Act.
Adapted from
www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/yourrights/equalityanddiscrimination/Disability/Pages/Whatthelawsays.aspx

Exhibit III
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A Brief Note on Flexible Working
Flexible working is a phrase used to describe any working pattern adapted to suit the employees
need. Such arrangements help the employers and the employee to agree on work patterns that
benefits the employers and also allow the employees to achieve work and home life balance. Some
types of flexible working arrangements are provided here:
Part-time: Working less than the normal hours (such as by working fewer days per week)
Flexi-time: Choosing when to work (theres usually a core period during which employees have
to work)
Annualised hours: Employees hours are worked out over a year (often set shifts with the
employee deciding when to work the other hours)
Compressed hours: Working the agreed hours over fewer days
Staggered hours: Different starting, break, and finishing times for employees in the same
workplace
Job sharing: Sharing a job designed for one person with someone else
Home working: Working from home
Shift swapping: Employees arranging shifts amongst themselves, provided all required shifts are
covered.
Self rostering: Employees nominating the shifts they would prefer, leaving the employer to compile
shift patterns matching their individual preferences while covering all required shifts.
Time off in lieu (TOIL): Employees taking time off to compensate for extra hours worked.
Term-time working: An employee remaining on a permanent contract but being allowed to take
paid/unpaid leave during school holidays.
Annual hours: Employees contracted hours being calculated over a year. While the majority of
shifts are allocated, the remaining hours are kept in reserve so that employees can be called in
at short notice as required.
V-time working: Employees agreeing to reduce their hours for a fixed period with a guarantee
of full-time work when this period ends.
Zero-hours contracts: Employees working only the hours they are needed.
Home working/teleworking: Employees spending all or part of their week working from home
or somewhere else away from the employers premises.
Sabbatical/career break: Employees being allowed to take an extended period of time off,
either paid or unpaid.
Employers and employees can arrive at any (or a combination) of these arragements but these
arrangements should comply with the law on working time.
Flexible working requires a new approach to working hours and workplace and could benefit employees,
their families, and the employers,according to some experts. Many businesses are introducing flexible
working arrangements due to the changing needs of the customers and employees.
Flexible working helps the employees achieve a better fit between other commitments and activities
in their work, and to make better use of their free time. This could be particularly helpful for
employees caring for children or other dependants. Flexible working could help even those who do
not have such responsibilities manage their work-life balance better and also make them feel more
in control of their workloads. Such an arrangement could help them avoid physical and mental
stress and to prevent sickness and burn out.
The customers of companies with flexible working arrangements are benefited as the company is
able to offer longer opening times, more experienced staff, and better overall service. In addition to
this, the company can achieve greater cost-effectiveness and efficiency. For instance, the company
can save on overheads when employees work from home or there could be less downtime for
machinery when 24-hour shifts are worked. It helps the company in attracting and retaining talent,
and reduces recruitment costs. It can lead to retention of higher skilled and experienced employees
who might have left if flexible working arrangements were not offered. Moreover, employees are
more satisfied with their jobs and their morale is high. Studies have shown a link between job
satisfaction and productivity. Some experts also say that work-life balance has a positive impact on
employee relations, motivation, and commitment. This in turn allows the company to increase its
competitiveness and also negotiate the changes in the environment better.
Employers trying to introduce flexible working for the first time need to plan, implement, and
monitor its introduction throughout the business. They need to inform and discuss the issue with
their employees and also to consult employees before introducing the policy. Besides, they need to
consider the likely effects of the policy on business and other systems and procedures. For
instance, existing job contracts may need to change and new ways of recording working patterns
and monitoring absence has to be introduced.
Adapted from Benefits of Flexible Working, www.businesslink.gov.uk; and other sources.

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Exhibit IV
UK Law on Flexible Working
The government of UK introduced a statutory right in order to encourage applications for flexible
working. According to UK law, an employee who is a parent of a child under six (under 18 if the
child is disabled) or caring for an adult, and has worked for an employer for a minimum 26 weeks
continuously, has the right to ask his/her employer for flexible working. The right applies
irrespective of whether the employee is responsible for the child as a parent/guardian/special
guardian/foster parent/private foster carer or as the holder of a residence order or a person who is
applying to care for a child. From April 6, 2007, the statutory right to apply for flexible working was
also extended to a carer who cares, or expects to be caring, for a spouse, partner, civil partner, or
relative or who lives at the same address as the person being cared for.
The employee who wants to apply for fexible working needs to follow a process and do so in
writing. For instance, the employee should explain in the application how the change in working
arrangement would affect the business and how that can be accommodated. The employee can
make one such request in a year. If the employer refuses the request, the applicant has the right to
appeal and the appeal should be made in writing within 14 days of receiving the employers
decision. In case the appeal is turned down by the employer, the employee can seek the help of the
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) to sort out the dispute with the employer.
As per the law, employers are obligated to give serious consideration to the application but it is not
mandatory for them to provide a flexible working arrangement if there is a good business reason.
However, they have to follow a set procedure in dealing with such requests. This involves calling a
meeting to discuss the application; informing employees in writing whether the application has been
accepted; justifying refusal of an application on one or more of permitted business grounds;
providing employees the right to appeal against the decision; calling a meeting to discuss the appeal
(if there is an appeal); notifying employees of the decision in writing after the appeal. Employers
should be very careful in how they deal with these requests as failing to follow these procedures
could make them liable to potential lawsuits from the employee. The employee can take the
employer to an Employment Tribunal if the company does not follow the procedures properly. The
employers may also be liable for discrimination claims (such as indirect sex discrimination). In any
case, not allowing an employee flexible working can lead to attrition as the employee could leave
the company and join another company that offers flexible working.
Compiled from various sources

References & Suggested Readings:
1. Ed Williams, Indirect Disability Discrimination Ruling Has Major Implications for HR, www.personneltoday.com, July 25, 2008.
2. Disability Discrimination Act Can Extend to Carers, Rules ECJ, www.out-law.com, July 24, 2008.
3. Sharon Coleman Tells Us Her Story of Taking Her Battle to the European Court, www.carersuk.org, July 22, 2008.
4. Employers Warned as Landmark Ruling Extends Rights to Carers, www.farminguk.com, July 21, 2008.
5. Having a Disabled Child Led to Discrimination, www.abeceder.co.uk, July 21, 2008.
6. France Gibbs, Relatives of Disabled Win Groundbreaking Victory after Sharon Coleman Discrimination Case,
http://business.timesonline.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
7. Julia Horton, This Will Mean So Much to So Many People, www.theherald.co.uk,
July 18, 2008.
8. Martin Wainwright, Carer Brings Hope to Millions with Landmark Win on Employment Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
9. Michael Herman, Analysis: Good, But Not Great for Carers, http://business. timesonline.co.uk, July 17, 2008.
10. Stephanie Bodoni and Caroline Byrne, Parent of Disabled Child Can Sue Employers for Bias (Update1), www.bloomberg.com, July 17, 2008.
11. EU Proposes Protection from Discrimination beyond the Workplace, http://europa.eu, July 2, 2008.
12. Coleman v Attridge Law, www.stammeringlaw.org.uk, July 2008.
13. Coleman v Attridge Law and Steve Law, www.personneltoday.com, June 15, 2008.
14. Discrimination by Association, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, May 1, 2008.
15. Carers Rights Need to be Protected, www.personneltoday.com, February 11, 2008.
16. Carers for Disabled People could be Protected by Discrimination Law, www.out-law.com, February 4, 2008.
17. John Carvel, Carers Court Victory on Flexible Working Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, February 1, 2008.
18. Carers Case May Sour Relations, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
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19. Landmark Case Could Benefit Carers, www.rte.ie, January 31, 2008.
20. Win for Disability Rights Woman, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
21. Sue Littlemore, Hope for Carers over Europe Judgement, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
22. Mothers Face Job Discrimination, www.bbc.co.uk, February 28, 2007.
23. Gaby Hinsliff, Mothers Battle for Carers Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, January 21, 2007.
24. Transcript of Proceedings, www.employmentappeals.gov.uk, November 9, 2006.
25. William Miller, Workplace Discrimination in the European Union, www.business-ethics.org, 1999.
26. Benefits of Flexible Working, www.businesslink.gov.uk
27. Hidden Barriers, www.workplacefairness.org/sc/discrimination.php
28. www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/yourrights/equalityanddiscrimination/Disability/Pages/Whatthelawsays.aspx
29. http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:62006J0303:EN:HTML
30. http://83.137.212.42/sitearchive/eoc/Default87ac.html?page=15500

[1] Ed Williams, Indirect Disability Discrimination Ruling Has Major Implications for HR, www.personneltoday.com, July 25, 2008.
[2] Sharon Coleman Tells Us Her Story of Taking Her Battle to the European Court, www.carersuk.org, July 22, 2008.
[3] Gaby Hinsliff, Mothers Battle for Carers Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, January 21, 2007.
[4] The Court of Justice of the European Communities (usually called the European Court of Justice), is the highest court in the European Union (EU). It has
the last say on matters of EU law in order to ensure equal application across the various European Union member states. The body was established in
1952 and is based in Luxembourg City.
[5] Disability Discrimination Act Can Extend to Carers, Rules ECJ, www.out-law.com, July 24, 2008.
[6] Having a Disabled Child Led to Discrimination, www.abeceder.co.uk, July 21, 2008.
[7] Trades Union Congress is the national trade union center in the UK, representing the vast majority of organized workers.
[8] Hidden Barriers, www.workplacefairness.org/sc/discrimination.php
[9] William Miller, Workplace Discrimination in the European Union, www.business-ethics.org, 1999.
[10] EU Proposes Protection from Discrimination beyond the Workplace, http://europa.eu, July 2, 2008.
[11] Mothers Face Job Discrimination, www.bbc.co.uk, February 28, 2007.
[12] Ed Williams, Indirect Disability Discrimination Ruling Has Major Implications for HR, www.personneltoday.com, July 25, 2008.
[13] Discrimination by Association, www.timeshighereducation.co.uk, May 1, 2008.
[14] The Federation Small Businesses (FSB) is the leading business organisation representing small and medium businesses in the UK.
[15] Carers Case May Sour Relations, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
[16] Sharon Coleman Tells Us Her Story of Taking Her Battle to the European Court, www.carersuk.org, July 22, 2008.
[17] Win for Disability Rights Woman, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
[18] John Carvel, Carers Court Victory on Flexible Working Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, February 1, 2008.
[19] Sharon Coleman Tells Us Her Story of Taking Her Battle to the European Court, www.carersuk.org, July 22, 2008.
[20] Sharon Coleman Tells Us Her Story of Taking Her Battle to the European Court, www.carersuk.org, July 22, 2008.
[21] Gaby Hinsliff, Mothers Battle for Carers Rights, The Observer, January 21, 2007.
[22] Coleman v Attridge Law, www.stammeringlaw.org.uk, July 2008.
[23] Transcript of Proceedings, www.employmentappeals.gov.uk, November 9, 2006.
[24] The Disability Rights Commission (DRC) was an independent body set up by the British Parliament to end discrimination against disabled people. In
October 2007, it was replaced by a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights with powers across all equality law (race, sex, disability, religion and
belief, sexual orientation, and age) by the passing of the Equality Act 2006.
[25] Gaby Hinsliff, Mothers Battle for Carers Rights, The Observer, January 21, 2007.
[26] Martin Wainwright, Carer Brings Hope to Millions with Landmark Win on Employment Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
[27] Landmark Case Could Benefit Carers, www.rte.ie, January 31, 2008.
[28] Martin Wainwright, Carer Brings Hope to Millions with Landmark Win on Employment Rights, www.guardian.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
[29] Carers for Disabled People Could be Protected by Discrimination Law, www.out-law.com, February 4, 2008.
[30] Julia Horton, This Will Mean So Much to So Many People, www.theherald.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
[31] Julia Horton, This Will Mean So Much to So Many People, www.theherald.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
[32] Carers Scotland is the leading campaigning, policy, and information organization for carers in Scotland.
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[33] Julia Horton, This Will Mean So Much to So Many People, www.theherald.co.uk, July 18, 2008.
[34] Stephanie Bodoni and Caroline Byrne, Parent of Disabled Child Can Sue Employers for Bias (Update1), www.bloomberg.com, July 17, 2008.
[35] Sue Littlemore, Hope for Carers over Europe Judgement, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
[36] Carers for Disabled People Could be Protected by Discrimination Law, www.out-law.com, February 4, 2008.
[37] Ed Williams, Indirect Disability Discrimination Ruling Has Major Implications for HR, www.personneltoday.com, July 25, 2008.
[38] Stephanie Bodoni and Caroline Byrne, Parent of Disabled Child Can Sue Employers for Bias (Update1), www.bloomberg.com, July 17, 2008.
[39] Coleman v Attridge Law and Steve Law, www.personneltoday.com, June 15, 2008.
[40] France Gibbs, Relatives of Disabled Win Groundbreaking Victory after Sharon Coleman Discrimination Case, http://business.timesonline.co.uk, July 18,
2008.
[41] Carers Case May Sour Relations, www.news.bbc.co.uk, January 31, 2008.
[42] France Gibbs, Relatives of Disabled Win Groundbreaking Victory after Sharon Coleman Discrimination Case, http://business.timesonline.co.uk, July 18,
2008.
[43] Employers Warned as Landmark Ruling Extends Rights to Carers, www.farminguk.com, July 21, 2008.
[44] Michael Herman, Analysis: Good, But Not Great for Carers, http://business.timesonline.co.uk, July 17, 2008.
[45] Carers Rights Need to be Protected, www.personneltoday.com, February 11, 2008.