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The employee – a Mr Truman – had indicated to Bibby Distribution Ltd that he would have to spend more time caring for his daughter because his wife, the primary carer, was starting her own business.
He was dismissed from his job on the day he reached one year’s service with the company, on the grounds that “his heart was not in the business” and his primary customer was dissatisfied with his work. Significantly, Mr Truman would have become entitled to unpaid ordinary parental leave after notching up one year’s service. His dismissal on the first anniversary of his employment meant that he was denied this right.
An employment tribunal found there was no satisfactory explanation for the dismissal. The primary customer had not indicated any issues with Mr Truman’s performance – nor had the company’s management.
As a result, the tribunal found that the employer committed associative disability discrimination and a remedy hearing was arranged.
Associative discrimination is the act of discriminating against an individual because of an association with another person who has a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The individual who brings an employment tribunal claim would not have the protected characteristic him or herself. A protected characteristic is a trait that the law has determined should not a basis for employment decisions, the equality Act 2010 lists protected characteristics as age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnerships; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion or belief; sex; or sexual orientation.
Carers need to be aware that employers may try to discriminate against them in this way.
Have they already suffered without knowing they are protected by the law?
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