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Carers Rights In The UK Boosted By Legal Ruling

As the UK population continue to live longer and longer on average, a landmark ruling has been confirmed by the European Court of Justice which gives primary carers the same rights as disabled people. The case was brought by British woman Sharon Coleman who was forced to quit her role as a legal secretary in 2005 after she was refused flexible working hours to care for her disabled son.

Faced with not being around when her son needed her or seeing her income reduced substantially, she took the natural route and chose to leave to care for her son full time. Ms Coleman claims she was only asking for the same flexibility as other colleagues with children but this was refused and she was accused of being 'lazy' after making repeated claims for time off to care for her son.

Morally there is every reason for the courts to grant primary carers the same rights as disabled people, because they are affectively there for their disabled siblings when required, however it may have repercussions in the world of business. If left to choose between two candidates for a position, one with a child who needed more than average caring, and one without such demands on their time, many employers will be tempted to move for the one without such demands on their time.

This then leaves the employer open to discrimination and the possibility of a hefty compensation claim - but what else can they do?

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