New Ruling: Volunteers Not Covered by DDA

December 2, 2009

A decision taken by an Employment Tribunal has decided that volunteers without a legally binding contract, nor a ‘work placement’ as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) do not fall under the DDA.

The case centres on a part-time volunteer at CAB, who was asked to no longer attend, the volunteer has HIV and claimed that she had been discriminated against.

The Employment Tribunal dismissed her claim, as did the Employment Appeal Tribunal. The Tribunals ruled that she did not have a legally binding contract, nor a ‘work placement’ as defined in the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The claimant subsequently took the case to the Court of Appeal arguing that her volunteer role was an ‘occupation’ within the European Framework Employment Directive, and should therefore be covered by the DDA.

The Court of Appeal referred the case back to the Employment Appeal Tribunal, which found in favour of CAB. Mr Justice Burton ruled that the term ‘occupation’ did not cover volunteers under the Framework Directive.