15 March 2011

Case finds volunteers not covered by discrimination law


In the case of X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau, X volunteered under a written agreement expressed as ‘binding in honour only’. After frequently failing to attend work and changing her working days, she was asked to cease attending.

The Employment Tribunal, Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal all found that X was not covered by the Disability and Discrimination Act 1995 (the ‘Act’), nor was she covered by the European Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000/78 (the ‘Directive’).

This finding was on the basis that the volunteering arrangement:

  1. did not constitute ‘employment’ within the meaning of section 68;
  2. did not amount to a ‘work placement’ within section 14©;
  3. was not one by which Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau determined to assume they would offer employment within section 4(1)(a); and
  4. did not mean that X was in ‘occupation’ and so was not within the Directive.

The Act has now been repealed and replaced by the Equality Act 2010. However, the relevant definitions are substantively the same in relation to the matters arising in this case and its conclusions apply equally under the new law.

For a summary of the case report please click here.

Category: Article