Defining disability: case law and the new Guidance

May 2006

Meeting the definition of disability - the "passport" to being protected by the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (the Act) - continues to be the subject of many of the cases heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The Disability Discrimination Act of 2005 amended the definition of disability in December 2005, and new Guidance comes into effect in May regarding definitions of disability, which must be taken into account by courts and tribunals.

Catherine Casserley, Barrister-at-law, Senior Legislation Adviser Disability Rights Commission, presents a paper looking at the caselaw on definition and the new guidance.

EC Proposals for a new Directive prohibiting discrimination outside employment

In its submission to the EC, the DLA makes a number of specific recommendations regarding the text of this proposed Directive, specifically in the areas of exceptions, positive action, victimination, multiple discrimination, equality bodies, and public procurement.

The DLA strongly recommends that these changes are introduced via a single Directive covering all four grounds of discrimination (religion or belief, age, disability, and sexual orientation), rather than separate Directives for each ground. We believe that a single Directive will aid legal clarity and transparency from the perspective of individuals, employers and service-providers. In addition, a single Directive is a better response to the situation of those who experience multiple discrimination. The DLA raises the concern that the introduction of a further Directive does not lead to any regression from the level of protection already guaranteed in the existing Directives.

January 2008

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