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Certain Volunteers not protected from Disability Discrimination

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[Thanks to Sheryn Omeri, pupil barrister at Cloisters, for providing this case summary]

The Court of Appeal has handed down judgment in X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau, which is authority for the proposition that certain voluntary workers are not protected under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 or Directive 2000/78/EEC establishing a general framework for equal treatment in employment and occupation. See here for the earlier EAT decision.

When she commenced work at the CAB, the appellant was given a volunteer agreement which was described as being binding in honour only, not a contract of employment or legally binding. 

The Court of Appeal dismissed the appellant's appeal. As the purpose of her role was not to determine whether she should be offered employment with the CAB, it did not come within the protection offered by s.4(1)(a) of the Act. Similarly as the purpose of the appellant's voluntary work was not vocational training, she was not protected by Article 3(1)(c) of the Directive. Finally, the Court held that the term "occupation" in the Directive overlaps with that of "worker" which has been limited by European jurisprudence to persons who are remunerated. It therefore could not operate to bring the appellant within the scope of the Directive, nor the Act as read in conformity with it.