Helping a woman with mental health conditions access justice (XX v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
A woman has mental health issues and claimed Employment and Support Allowance. She was referred to the Work Programme, which involves work-focused interviews and activities designed to improve people’s chances of finding work. She found it difficult to attend these because no adjustments had been made for her mental health impairments. She experienced deterioration in her health as a result of attempting to carry out the mandatory activities. She brought claims for failure to make reasonable adjustments and indirect disability discrimination.
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.
Challenging the ‘two-child limit’ rule (R (on the application of SC and CB and their children) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions)
The Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 provides that child tax credit and its replacement universal credit will not be payable to any 3rd or subsequent children in a family born after 6th April 2017 (subject to some exceptions). This is known as the ‘two child rule’.
SC and CB each had a baby after 6th April 2017 and do not receive any tax credits for those children.
Are British civilians employed by the MoD in Cyprus protected by the Equality Act? (Holloway & Ors v Ministry of Defence)
A group of British civilians working on a military base in Cyprus brought claims of discrimination against the Ministry of Defence (MoD). Before considering their claim, the Employment Tribunal had to decide whether GB equality laws applied to this group of workers. The first Employment Tribunal found that the Equality Act did apply to them. However, the MoD successfully challenged this in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. This meant that the case was remitted to the ET to be reconsidered.
When a woman discovered she was pregnant after being offered a job in the police force, the offer was withdrawn. We were concerned this amounted to discrimination and provided the woman with legal assistance to support her case.
Preventing estate agents using ‘No DSS’ policies to discriminate against renters (J v X Estate Agents)
A female disabled renter successfully challenged an estate agent’s ‘No DSS’ policy on grounds it indirectly discriminated against her because of her sex and disability. Women and disabled people are more likely to be in receipt of housing benefit than men and non-disabled people, and as a result of the policy, blocked from renting many properties.
We funded a case challenging the Secretary of State for Justice’s decision to make PAVA spray available in prisons during the coronavirus pandemic, before agreed safeguards were in place. As a result of the action, the use of PAVA will be more tightly controlled and monitored. This should help prevent disproportionate use against prisoners sharing particular protected characteristics and improve scrutiny and accountability.
A woman with afro hair was told by her employer that she had to wear her hair straightened and tied back. We challenged the policy to clarify if the employer’s policy was discriminatory against black women, which ended in a successful settlement for the claimant.
Challenging a decision to terminate a man's Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payments (R (on the application of Alison Turner) v SS for Work and Pensions)
A judicial review hearing was heard at the High Court to consider the case of Errol Graham who starved to death in June 2018 after his Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payments were terminated by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) eight months earlier. We intervened in this case.
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?