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Court of Appeal Rules that Volunteers are Unprotected by Employment Laws

Court of Appeal Rules that Volunteers are Unprotected by Employment Laws

People in the UK who work as volunteers are not protected by employment laws against discrimination at work; it has been announced.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, which is chaired by Trevor Phillips and maintains a "statutory remit to promote and monitor human rights", supported a test case in which a disabled woman was asked to leave an unpaid position at the Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau and then filed an employment grievance case on the basis of unfair dismissal.

However, the Court of Appeal has ruled that because such volunteers do not receive wages and do not have a contract with the Citizens Advice Bureau, they are therefore not covered by standard employment laws.

Lord Justice Elias stated that should a ruling be passed to change this, it would mean that such a principle would apply to "all fields of human activity, but no-one suggests this is the case", Personnel Today reports.

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Posted by Richard Saunders