‘Pre-cancerous’ conditions are now protected under the Equality Act 2010

Lofty v Hamis (t/a First Café) UKEAT/0177/17  has now widened the protection under the Equality Act 2010 to cover ‘pre-cancerous’ conditions.

An employee that required treatment and a period of sick leave from work for a ‘pre-cancerous’ skin condition has been able to successfully claim disability discrimination under section 15 of the Equality Act 2010 (discrimination arising from disability). The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held the Employment Tribunal wrongly decided that ‘pre-cancerous’ meant the condition was before cancer and not (yet) invasive.  Judge Eady QC said the Equality Act 2010 ‘requires only that the claimant has cancer’. It was noted, however, that a ‘pre-cancerous’ diagnosis of cells may mean something different depending on the location. Nonetheless, evidence of ‘pre-cancerous’ skin conditions point to a type of cancer and will now fall into the category of a disability under the Equality Act 2010.

This landmark decision is legally binding and applies to other Employment Tribunal cases across the UK.

If you have any questions relating to this article or require any advice, please contact Ailsa Hobson Associate in the Employment team, on 0191 226 3705 or at ailsa.hobson@sintons.co.uk.

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