31/01/2008

‘Lazy’ Carer Wins Initial Stages Of Landmark Case

A British woman who was branded “lazy” by her former employees for wanting time off to care for her disabled son has won the initial stages of a landmark case at the European Court of Justice.

If the case is upheld by the full court it could pave the way for new rights for millions of carers.

The Advocate-General agreed that Sharon Coleman suffered “discrimination by association”. A panel of European judges are expected to make a final ruling later this year.

As primary carer, Ms Coleman asked for flexible working arrangements, but instead accepted voluntary redundancy and began a claim for constructive dismissal five months later.

Ms Coleman said her manager had commented that her child was always sick, and had accused her of repeatedly using his condition to escape work.

Ms Coleman was already working with the law firm when she gave birth to a disabled son in 2002.

He suffers from serious respiratory problems, including apnoeic attacks - an involuntary halt to breathing.

Making the ruling this week Poiares Maduro, a senior European lawyer, commented that directly targeting a person with a particular characteristic was not the only way of discriminating against him or her.

He said: "One way of undermining the dignity and autonomy of people... is to target not them, but third persons who are closely associated with them.''

(GC)




Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

05 June 2015
Pills Linked To Teenager's Death In Warwickshire
Police have warned people about the dangers of taking illegal drugs after a teenager was found dead at his home in Warwickshire. He was discovered at his house in Nuneaton on 31 May. It is unknown whether the drugs contributed to the teenagers death.
24 March 2010
Tovil Residents Evacuated
More than 40 homes in Tovil, Kent were evacuated last night as local fire services battled a blaze at a residential garage. Emergency teams arrived at a block of garages on Beaconsfield Road late yesterday and extinguished the fire, however crews have remained in position over fears gas canisters in the vicinity could ignite.
30 January 2012
Inquest Into Gary Speed Death Opens
An inquest into the death of former Wales football manager Gary Speed is to begin on Monday. Gary Speed, 42, who became a well known player during his career at Newcastle, Leeds and Bolton, among others, was found hanged at his Cheshire home in November last year by his wife Louise.
19 January 2012
Chris Coleman Appointed As Wales Manager
The Football Association of Wales have appointed Chris Coleman as the manager of Wales to replace the late Gary Speed. The FAW’S Chief Executive Jonathan Ford admitted it had been a very difficult period following the tragic suicide of the former 42-year-old manager in November. “This has been a very difficult process.
05 August 2008
Boa Constrictor On The Loose In Kent
Kent residents are being told to be extra vigilant following the escape of a pet boa constrictor. The 6ft snake, which is brown with distinctive black markings was reported missing on Monday afternoon after escaping from its home in St Mary's Island, Chatham on Sunday night.