27 April 2009

The Equality Bill - Published 27 April

Christina Morton
Professional support lawyer | UK

The Government’s stated aim in introducing the Equality Bill is to address what it regards as persistent inequality and discrimination within and outside the workplace. Its main proposals are to: 

  • introduce a new duty on public sector bodies to consider reducing socio-economic inequalities;
  • extend the existing equality duty on public bodies to cover sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, pregnancy and maternity and gender reassignment (sex, race and disability are already covered);
  • encourage the use of public sector spending (currently £175 billion annually) to promote equality;
  • ban age discrimination outside the workplace in the provision of goods and services (including public services);
  • introduce a power to require gender pay reports. This power will not be used before 2013 and then only if there has been insufficient progress on voluntary reporting;
  • make pay secrecy clauses unlawful;
  • extend the scope to use positive action to enable employers to favour a candidate from an under-represented group if faced with a choice between two equally suitable candidates;
  • strengthen the powers of employment tribunals in discrimination cases by enabling them to make recommendations that will benefit the entire workforce and not only the person bringing a discrimination claim;
  • protect carers from discrimination by outlawing discrimination by association across all strands of discrimination law, not only race, religion or belief or sexual orientation, which are already covered;
  • protect breastfeeding mothers by making it unlawful to ask them to leave premises because they are breastfeeding;
  • ban discrimination against members or guests of members in private clubs. It will not be unlawful to establish a private club exclusively for persons who share a particular characteristic;
  • strengthen protection from discrimination for disabled people by making it unlawful knowingly to subject a disabled person to unjustified poor treatment.

Click here to view the Bill in full.  We will be producing further analysis as the Bill progresses through Parliament.

Christina Morton Professional support lawyer | London

Category: Article