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Health: Leprosy

Volume 708: debated on Thursday 26 February 2009


Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to end discrimination against people who have been cured of leprosy and their families. [HL1093]

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as amended (DDA) already includes provisions that provide protection from disability discrimination for people who are no longer disabled, but who have had a disability that met the Act's definition of a disability. In general, the DDA defines a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. A person who has had leprosy which met that definition is therefore entitled to the protection afforded by the Act.

The DDA was not intended to provide protection from discrimination based on a person's association with a disabled person. However, following the European Court of Justice's (ECJ) judgment in the case of Coleman v Attridge Law, an employment tribunal has decided that the DDA can be interpreted so as to provide protection in employment and vocational training for a person who is directly discriminated against or harassed on the basis of their association with a disabled person. The employment tribunal's decision in Coleman has been appealed by the employer in question. The Government are considering the impact of the ECJ's decision for domestic discrimination law in the context of preparing for the forthcoming equality Bill.