Hillingdon Council’s housing rules said that a person must have lived in the area for at least ten years before they could apply for a house. The council refused two people, a refugee who had been given permission to stay in the UK and an Irish Traveller, on these grounds. We saw this as discriminatory and we intervened in their cases in the Administrative Court and the Court of Appeal.
Immigration status and the right to rent a property (R (Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants) v Secretary of State for the Home Department)
As part of the Home Office’s ‘hostile environment’ towards those without leave to remain in the UK, the Immigration Act 2014 prevents landlords from renting property to people who do not have leave to enter or remain in the UK. A body representing the interests of immigrants challenged this, arguing that the law breached both equality and human rights legislation because it causes landlords to discriminate against potential tenants on the grounds of their nationality and/or their race. This may happen, for example, because landlords think they do not look or sound British, even if they are not disqualified from renting.
A severely disabled man had his care package cut by the local council. It meant that he would lose a team of carers who had been supporting him to live independently for 20 years. We intervened to support his legal challenge that the decision broke equality and human rights laws and breached the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
A woman who was homeless had a range of serious mental health problems applied to the council to be housed. The council determined that she did not have the mental capacity to apply as homeless. She challenged this through the courts. The County Court had said it was bound by the outcome of an earlier case which found that people who lack capacity cannot make homeless applications.
A man with mental health conditions attempted to appeal the outcome of an unsuccessful Employment Tribunal case. He missed the deadline by one hour and his appeal was refused by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). He took his case to the Court of Appeal, arguing that the EAT had discriminated against him.
Can an employer lawfully treat an employee less favourably, including dismissing them, because of behaviour in their private life which runs contrary to the employer’s religion or belief?