In a recent decision in the case of CHEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria, the European Court of Justice has held that a person may successfully claim indirect discrimination, even though they do not possess the protected characteristic that has given rise to the discrimination complaint.
This case did not involve an employment scenario but the decision could have a very significant impact on UK discrimination law, as the wording of Section 19 of the Equality Act 2010 is inconsistent with this approach. This may open a flood gate of discrimination claims from people who previously may not have been able to establish that they belonged to a disadvantaged group. For example, previously a man requesting to work part-time for childcare reasons may have struggled to demonstrate that he belonged to a disadvantaged group if his request was refused, it being commonly accepted that females are disadvantaged more than males when required to work full-time due to their greater role in childcare responsibilities. However, following this decision, in such circumstances it may be possible for a male to demonstrate that he suffers alongside the disadvantaged female group. It will be very interesting to see how this decision plays out in the UK Courts and Tribunals.