13 June 2014: The short answer, is no, following the Court of Appeal decision in Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence.
Ms Ainsworth worked for the British Armed Forces as a civilian based in Germany. Her daughter had Down’s syndrome and so she asked transfer back to the UK so that her daughter could get specialist help. The MoD refused, and she brought an ‘associative discrimination’ claim for failure to make reasonable adjustments.
The Court of Appeal considered the wording of the Equality Act 2010 and the Equal Treatment Framework Directive, before deciding that they only applied to disabled employees or prospective employees, and not relatives or other people associated to the employee.
The Hainsworth case therefore appears to overturn the earlier decision in Coleman v Attridge Law which suggested that that claims of associative discrimination could apply to direct discrimination claims.
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