Discrimination claims against public bodies

A public body is generally an organisation which delivers a public service or operates a public function. If you believe that you have been the victim of discrimination by a public body and would like to speak to a member of our team call us on 0203 816 9314 or complete our online enquiry form without delay.

Examples of organisations operating public functions include:

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What is discrimination?

Discrimination is the unequal treatment of an individual or a number of individuals who are considered protected persons under the terms of the Equality Act 2010.

A person can be protected from discrimination if it can be proven that the act to which they were subjected was because of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment, religious beliefs or disability.

Associative discrimination

Further, if a family member, friend or loved ones hold a protected characteristic you may have grounds for a claim if you are treated unfavourably simply as a result of your association with that person.

Types of discrimination

Public equality duty

Public authorities are under a legal obligation to comply with what is known as the general equality duty. This means that they must consider equality in the course of their day to day business.

If they fail to do so then they may be held accountable for the action or the actions of their employees if it can be proven that their actions were not justifiable on the basis that it was necessary to achieve a legitimate aim which was in the public interest.  

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Discrimination by local authorities

Common discrimination claims against local authorities relate to the provision of housing.

Issues can arise in the strict implementation of banding criteria which does not provide for flexibility in circumstances where a person with, for example a specific disability would be placed at a disadvantage. Such a disadvantage could occur in the incorrect allocation of a banding based on the local authority’s opinion of an individual’s need to be re-housed, which prevents them from bidding on properties suitable to their actual needs due to their disability.

Further, local authorities in their capacity as landlords are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their properties to accommodate their Tenants who suffer from disabilities, to enable them to enjoy their home as any other tenants would be able to. The test in such claims is ‘reasonableness’. For example, there is no duty on the local authority to make changes that affect the structure of the building that would permanently alter the home – such as adding or removing walls or installing permanent ramps. However, all of the circumstances of the case and the adjustments proposed by the individuals will be taken into account by a court.

If a local authority is proven to have failed, in addition to claims for injunctive measures to force the implementation of reasonable adjustments, claims can also be made for payments of damages in lieu of the injury to feelings and any financial losses incurred as a result of their breach of duty.

If you believe that you have been the victim of such discrimination and would like to speak to a member of our team call us on 0203 816 9314 or complete our online enquiry form without delay.

Discrimination by the DWP

It is common for disabled individuals to report that they have been subjected to sanctions on their welfare benefits claims on the basis that they were unable to comply with general requirements to undertake work placements or attend assessment appointments at prescribed locations which they alleged were unsuitable for them and therefore discriminatory towards them due to their disabilities.

In such circumstances claims can be brought against the DWP, requesting that the court order that reasonable adjustments be made to their policies and general requirements to ensure that the client’s are not subjected to any further detriment or unfavourable treatment.

Such claims can include applications for payments of sums by way of damages for financial losses caused or injury to the individual’s feelings as a result of the alleged conduct.

If you believe that you have been the victim of such discrimination and would like to speak to a member of our team call us on 0203 816 9314 or complete our online enquiry form without delay.

Discrimination by the emergency services

Should the police, employees of the NHS or other emergency services act in a way which is unfavourable towards an individual either in direct or indirect reference to their protected status or, if they fail to make reasonable adjustments for individuals with disabilities in the course of them performing their duties, a claim can be made against the police force.

Such a claim could include an individual seeking reasonable adjustments going forward and/or the payment of damages as a result of losses incurred or injury to feelings suffered.

If you believe that you have been the victim of such discrimination and would like to speak to a member of our team call us on 0203 816 9314 or complete our online enquiry form without delay.

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