The claimant, a principal carer who worked at home to care for her disabled mother, was employed by Nationwide as a Senior Lending Manager on a homeworker contract. The claimant was dismissed, allegedly on grounds of redundancy, as Nationwide decided that Senior Lending Managers could no longer work from home on a full-time basis and needed to supervise on-site.
Even though Nationwide knew the claimant was a carer for her disabled mother, which would mean the claimant would be more likely to work from home compared to a non-carer, the employer took no reasonable steps to avoid the disadvantage. This made the claimant substantially disadvantaged due to her association with her mother’s disability.
The employment tribunal upheld the claimant’s claim of indirect associative discrimination on the grounds of disability. The reasoning was that the Race Directive benefits those who are subjected to “less favourable treatment or a particular disadvantage” based on the fact they are associated with a protected class.
The tribunal also stated that requiring the claimant, who was known to Nationwide to be a carer, to work on-site rather than at home contained a discriminatory element, and a more proportionate approach could have been achieved through offering flexible working.