We’ll take a look at this post at cancer and disability discrimination claims, focusing upon what rights and remedies workers and employees may have if they’ve been discriminated against because (or for a reason related to) the fact that they or another person in the workplace has cancer. This will entail an examination of:
- Is a worker or employee with cancer deemed to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010?
- What types of disability discrimination are there?
- Compensation for disability discrimination claims
Please note: it is strongly advised that you obtain employment law advice from an employment law solicitor if you think that you or another person has been discriminated against because they have cancer
Is a worker or employee with cancer deemed to be disabled under the Equality Act 2010?
Workers with multiple sclerosis, HIV or cancer, or those registered with a local authority or certified by a consultant opthalmologist as blind, severely sight impaired, sight impaired or partially sighted are deemed disabled without the need to go through the normal steps to prove whether they are disabled or not. Workers or employees with cancer, then, are automatically protected from disability-related discrimination or harassment in the workplace if they suffer from – or have suffered from – cancer.
What types of disability discrimination are there?
There are a variety of types of disability-related discrimination, harassment and victimisation under the Equality Act 2010. This includes:
- Direct disability discrimination (s.13 Equality Act 2010)
- Indirect disability discrimination (s.19 Equality Act 2010)
- Discrimination arising from disability (s.15 Equality Act 2010)
- Failure to make reasonable adjustments (s.20 Equality Act 2010)
- Disability-related harassment (s.26 Equality Act 2010)
- Victimisation (s.27 Equality Act 2010)
Compensation for disability discrimination claims
Compensation in disability discrimination claims can include:
- An award for financial loss (loss of earnings due to the discrimination)
- An award for injury to feelings suffered as a result of the discrimination, harassment or victimisation
- An award for aggravated damages if the employer’s conduct has been particularly malicious
- An award for exemplary damages in very specific circumstances
- An award for injury to the worker’s health if that injury has been caused by the employer’s conduct
Awards for financial loss are based upon the loss of earnings that the worker or employee has suffered due to the conduct of the employer. For example, if the worker was discriminated against by being demoted because they were suffering from cancer (and suffered a drop in earnings as a result) then the appropriate financial loss would be the difference in earnings in their old position compared to their new position. Equally, if an employee is subject to a discriminatory dismissal because they have cancer then they may be able to make an unfair dismissal claim in the Employment Tribunal, with compensation based upon the drop in their income.
The award for injury to feelings in a discrimination claim is based upon the seriousness of the discrimination that the worker that has suffered, and this normally entails slotting the worker into a particular “Vento” bracket to determine what compensation is due. For example, if a worker has suffered a minor incident of discrimination that didn’t seriously affect their feelings then the appropriate Vento bracket would be the lowest bracket, with a consequence range of award of between £500 and £6,000. However, an award of £500 would be unusual. If the discrimination has been particularly egregious and over a long period of time the applicable Vento bracket would possibly be the highest bracket, with damages for injury to feelings of between £15,000 and £25,000 and, possibly, even more.
As well as making awards for, for example, financial loss and injury to feelings, the Tribunal can also make particular declarations and recommendations in discrimination cases. For example, the Tribunal could recommend that the employer implement an equality policy or send their employees on equality training or particular training related to cancer-related illnesses.
Redmans Solicitors are employment law solicitors based in London