The Court of Appeal has given judgment in the case of Hainsworth v Ministry of Defence . While not an NHS specific case, it provides helpful clarification regarding the limits of the law on reasonable adjustments.
Mrs Hainsworth was a civilian employee of the British armed forces, based in Germany. She was not disabled, but her daughter has Down's syndrome. Mrs Hainsworth requested a transfer to the UK so that her daughter could attend specialist education and training facilities. Her request was refused. She brought a claim alleging that this refusal amounted to a breach of her employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments.
The question for consideration was whether the duty to make reasonable adjustments extended to disabled persons associated with the employee. The court rejected Mrs Hainsworth’s appeal. They found that the wording of the Equality Act 2010 and Article 5 Equal Treatment Framework Directive (© European Union, http://eurlex.europa.eu/, 1998-2014 ) is clear in that their provisions only apply to reasonable adjustments for the assistanceof disabled employees or prospective employees. The court said that any attempt to stretch this to cover a disabled person associated with an employee is "doomed to failure".