Working Theory

by Michael Reed


I do employment law for the Free Representation Unit.


michael at


Volunteers and discrimination

13 December 2012

The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau, confirming that volunteers are not engaged in an ‘occupation’ under the Framework Directive and, therefore, not protected by the equality legislation that applies to employees.

Its worth remembering, however, that equality protection is not limited to employees. In particular, the Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination in respect of the provision of services to the public (Part 3, s28-31) and the membership of associations (Part 7, s101) unlawful.

So, X v Mid Sussex CAB should not be taken as a green light to discriminate against volunteers. They may well be protected under another part of the Equality Act.

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