Volunteers not protected

Posted: 15th January 2013

Citizens Advice BureauVoluntary organisations will welcome a decision of the Supreme Court in X v Mid-Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau that volunteers do not fall within the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now superseded by the Equality Act 2010) or the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive.

X, a former CAB volunteer who is HIV positive, claimed that she had been dismissed because of her disability.

The Employment Tribunal found that it did not have jurisdiction to hear her case on the ground that she was outside the scope of protection afforded by the legislation. The Employment Appeal Tribunal and the Court of Appeal agreed.

The Supreme Court has now rejected a further appeal and refused a request to make a reference to the European Court of Justice for a ruling on the ground that ‘there is no scope for reasonable doubt about the conclusion that the Framework Directive does not cover voluntary activity’.