- Spencer is an industry recognised discrimination lawyer.
- He is a barrister practising at Old Square Chambers, a leading employment law chambers.
- Spencer has appeared in discrimination cases concerning every protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010 (Age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation).
- Spencer has appeared in the employment tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.
- He acts for clients providing goods and services, education providers and for employers and employees.
- He is a recognised by the legal directories as a leading discrimination Lawyer / barrister.
Why Ask a Discrimination Barrister?
As a discrimination barrister Spencer sees how tribunals apply discrimination law in practice. He sees first hand how cases can be won or lost by taking a particular approach to the evidence or law. Spencer can give you advice and guidance on how to defend or bring a claim, using this experience. He can also give you practical and straight forward advice no whether your claim or defence is likely to succeed. If you would like to instruct Spencer through the Direct Access Scheme click here to find out more.
Types of Discrimination
Section 13 of the Equality Act 2010 contains the statutory test for direct discrimination and provides:
13 Direct Discrimination
(1) A person (A) discriminates against another (B) if, because of a protected characteristic, A treats B less favourably than A treats or would treat others.
Direct disability discrimination occurs where a person is treated less favourably because of disability than another person has been, or would have been, treated in a comparable situation. Direct discrimination cannot be justified. There are two particularly important limbs to the test for direct discrimination: firstly the Claimant must have been treated less favourably than another; and, secondly, that treatment must have been afforded to the Claimant because of disability.
The question of whether treatment is “because of” disability does not depend upon an examination of the Respondent’s motives (Amnesty International v Ahmed  IRLR 884, EAT, per Underhill J at paras. 31 to 37). The fact that the Respondent considered its motives to be innocent or that it did not consider its actions were related to disability is irrelevant because direct discrimination cannot be justified. The relevant question is whether the treatment in question was “because of” disability in the sense that disability was an effective or operative cause, or had a significant influence on the outcome.
Section 19 of the Equality Act sets out the concept of indirect disability discrimination in domestic law.
Indirect disability discrimination claims can be particularly complicated. They are also relatively new. The concept of indirect discrimination was introduced into domestic law by s.19 of the Equality Act 2010 on 01 October 2010 and so there is little specific guidance available from the higher courts.
Some commentators have suggested that the addition of indirect disability discrimination adds nothing to the protection afforded to disabled people by the reasonable adjustments duty and s.15 discrimination. It is difficult to agree with this since both the reasonable adjustments duty and s.15 discrimination are dependent on the employer having knowledge of the claimant’s disability. The significance of indirect discrimination is that it is proactive not reactive and that advance knowledge is not required before liability is imposed. A sign prohibiting dogs from being brought into a building is likely to indirectly discriminates against visually impaired people (if it is not justified) even if the owner does not know anybody who might be affected.