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Are Volunteers Covered by Discrimination Law?

on Monday, 01 July 2013. Posted in Employment

In a recent case the Supreme Court decided that an unpaid volunteer working for the Citizens Advice Bureau was not covered by discrimination law and therefore could not proceed with her discrimination claim.

Whilst most charities have policies covering volunteers and try to treat them fairly, a decision giving volunteers enhanced rights would have lead to a significant burden on charities. For this reason some charities supported the Citizens Advice Bureau’s position in defending the claim on the basis that if volunteers were given discrimination rights it would undermine the nature of volunteering; as well as creating practical barriers and formalization which would result in additional costs for example written contracts.