Equal rights for carers proposed in forthcoming Equality Bill

The Government has announced that it intends to ban discrimination against carers by protecting people who are 'associated with' someone who is disabled. This will apply not only in employment but also in the provision of goods, facilities and services. The announcement was made in a written statement by the Minister for Women and Equality Rt Hon Harriet Harman MP and the change will be included in the Equality Bill which will be published later this month.

In making this decision the Government has taken account of an historic case taken by carer Sharon Coleman who claimed that she was discriminated against and harassed because she had a disabled son and was treated less favourably than employees whose children weren't disabled.

The new ruling will apply to the public, private and voluntary sector and will mean that employers and service providers must not treat carers differently to people who do not have caring responsibilities. They will need to think about how they will ensure that employees or customers who are carers will be given equal access to jobs or services. This means having an understanding of who carers are and how they might be affected by their policies. Carers who feel they have been discriminated against will be able to complain to an employment tribunal, or to the County Court if they have been discriminated against by a service provider.

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK said, "This is a highly significant decision for carers. Carers UK has consistently lobbied for greater rights for carers as we hear regularly through our helpline that carers are being discriminated against. We have pressed the Government at every opportunity calling for carers to be given these rights. Ministers have listened to our arguments and recognised the equality challenges that carers face every day and the urgent need to protect them from discrimination. By putting this commitment into the Equality Bill, in black and white, carers will be able to assert their right not to be discriminated against."

For further information visit

Carers UK

website link

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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