Discrimination against caregivers

26 June 2024 1 min read

By Tommaso Erboli

At a glance

  • The Court of Cassation has considered the issue of discrimination against caregivers.
  • Direct discrimination against disabled individuals is prohibited by Regulation.
  • The Court has decided that this protection also extends to workers who care for a disabled person.  

In a recent ruling (Court of Cassation 20 May 2024, No. 13934), the Court of Cassation stated that the prohibition of direct discrimination set by the regulations on equal treatment in employment and working conditions does not only refer to disabled individuals but also extends to workers who provide assistance to the disabled.  

The inclusion of ‘handicap condition‘ in the exhaustive list of prohibited grounds of discrimination (under Article 2 of Legislative Decree 216/2003) cannot be limited solely to a handicapped worker but must also extend to a worker who assists a family member with a ‘handicap condition‘. 

The same reasoning applies to Art. 15 of Law 300/1970, where, as in this case, the express reference to handicap as a ground of discrimination cannot be limited to a handicapped worker. 

Therefore, if the employer effects less favorable treatment of a non-disabled worker who holds a permit to assist a disabled person (as per Art. 33 of Law 104/1992) when compared to other workers, and it emerges that the less favorable treatment is due to the disability of the assisted family member, this constitutes direct discrimination.