MINELRES: ERT submits evidence to Bill Committee & Consultation on Multiple Discrimination

minelres@lists.microlink.lv minelres@lists.microlink.lv
Fri Jul 3 20:29:21 2009


Original sender: Equal Rights Trust <equalrightstrust1@response.pure360.com>


British Equality Bill: Update on Legislative Developments  
 
London, 19 June 2009  
 
In the United Kingdom, a Parliamentary Public Bill Committee has begun
the process of scrutinizing the Equality Bill which was published on 24
April 2009.  The Equality Bill seeks to simplify the law which, over the
last four decades, has become complex and difficult to navigate, by
replacing nine different acts and 100 other measures in a single act.  

Aside from unifying existing legislation, the Bill, introduced by
Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman, contains a number of
progressive measures, including:
• Socio-economic duty: a duty on public bodies to consider what action
can be taken to reduce socio-economic inequality;
• Gender pay gap reporting: a Minister may, by regulations, require
employers with more than 250 employees to report on the pay gap between
men and women;
• Age discrimination ban: a ban on all forms of age discrimination,
extending the ban from discrimination in employment to cover the receipt
of goods and services;
• Positive action: a provision allowing employers to take positive
action to increase opportunities for those from under-represented
groups. 

The Bill Committee’s work began with two evidence sessions on 2 and 9
June.  The cross-party Committee will now scrutinise the whole Bill
before making recommendations and proposing amendments to the House of
Commons at Report Stage.  The Bill will then proceed to Third Reading in
the Commons before progressing for consideration in the House of Lords,
expected sometime in the autumn. 

Since the publication of the Equality Bill, ERT has been actively
involved in securing improvements and amendments which would make the
final legislation more comprehensive, progressive and consistent.
Throughout this work ERT has been guided by the Declaration of
Principles on Equality (the Declaration), adopted in 2008 and expresses
a moral and professional consensus among a growing number of experts and
advocates about the right to equality.    

The Equal Rights Trust response to call for written evidence 

On 19 May 2009, ERT responded to the Bill Committee’s request for
evidence by welcoming the Bill’s attempt to establish comprehensive
legislation and address some inconsistencies, but drawing attention to
some key gaps and inconsistencies in the legislation. ERT, drawing on
the the Declaration, focussed on three areas which were viewed to be of
primary importance: 

1. Unprotected grounds: As it stands under clause 4 of the Bill,
protection from discrimination only applies to age, disability, gender
reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity,
race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. ERT expressed
concern about the failure to protect people who are discriminated
against because of characteristics other than those listed in the Bill.
In accordance with Principle 5 of the Declaration, ERT proposed the
adoption of a ‘test-based approach’ to permit courts to safeguard new
protected characteristics.
2. Multiple discrimination: The failure to protect people who face
discrimination because of more than one characteristic from indirect
discrimination and harassment. ERT said that the failure to protect
against these harms represented a ‘missed opportunity’, something which
was taken up in its response to the government consultation on multiple
discrimination. 
3. Positive action: The decision to make positive action permissible.
ERT proposed that positive action, where necessary to address past
disadvantage should be required and made a duty on employers. 

Equal Rights Trust response to multiple discrimination consultation 

ERT also responded to the government consultation on Multiple
Discrimination, calling on the government not to limit protection to
cases involving only two grounds, saying that fears of undue burden on
employers were unfounded given the current duties under British law. 
ERT also called for the provisions to be extended to include protection
from indirect discrimination and harassment, citing the number of cases
already brought under British law which had involved these types of
discrimination. 

To read the Equality Bill, click here: British Equality Bill: Update on
Legislative Developments  
 
 
London, 19 June 2009  
 
 
 
In the United Kingdom, a Parliamentary Public Bill Committee has begun
the process of scrutinizing the Equality Bill which was published on 24
April 2009.  The Equality Bill seeks to simplify the law which, over the
last four decades, has become complex and difficult to navigate, by
replacing nine different acts and 100 other measures in a single act.  

Aside from unifying existing legislation, the Bill, introduced by
Minister for Women and Equality, Harriet Harman, contains a number of
progressive measures, including:
• Socio-economic duty: a duty on public bodies to consider what action
can be taken to reduce socio-economic inequality;
• Gender pay gap reporting: a Minister may, by regulations, require
employers with more than 250 employees to report on the pay gap between
men and women;
• Age discrimination ban: a ban on all forms of age discrimination,
extending the ban from discrimination in employment to cover the receipt
of goods and services;
• Positive action: a provision allowing employers to take positive
action to increase opportunities for those from under-represented
groups. 

The Bill Committee’s work began with two evidence sessions on 2 and 9
June.  The cross-party Committee will now scrutinise the whole Bill
before making recommendations and proposing amendments to the House of
Commons at Report Stage.  The Bill will then proceed to Third Reading in
the Commons before progressing for consideration in the House of Lords,
expected sometime in the autumn. 

Since the publication of the Equality Bill, ERT has been actively
involved in securing improvements and amendments which would make the
final legislation more comprehensive, progressive and consistent.
Throughout this work ERT has been guided by the Declaration of
Principles on Equality (the Declaration), adopted in 2008 and expresses
a moral and professional consensus among a growing number of experts and
advocates about the right to equality.    

The Equal Rights Trust response to call for written evidence 

On 19 May 2009, ERT responded to the Bill Committee’s request for
evidence by welcoming the Bill’s attempt to establish comprehensive
legislation and address some inconsistencies, but drawing attention to
some key gaps and inconsistencies in the legislation. ERT, drawing on
the the Declaration, focussed on three areas which were viewed to be of
primary importance: 

1. Unprotected grounds: As it stands under clause 4 of the Bill,
protection from discrimination only applies to age, disability, gender
reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity,
race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. ERT expressed
concern about the failure to protect people who are discriminated
against because of characteristics other than those listed in the Bill.
In accordance with Principle 5 of the Declaration, ERT proposed the
adoption of a ‘test-based approach’ to permit courts to safeguard new
protected characteristics.
2. Multiple discrimination: The failure to protect people who face
discrimination because of more than one characteristic from indirect
discrimination and harassment. ERT said that the failure to protect
against these harms represented a ‘missed opportunity’, something which
was taken up in its response to the government consultation on multiple
discrimination. 
3. Positive action: The decision to make positive action permissible.
ERT proposed that positive action, where necessary to address past
disadvantage should be required and made a duty on employers. 

Equal Rights Trust response to multiple discrimination consultation 

ERT also responded to the government consultation on Multiple
Discrimination, calling on the government not to limit protection to
cases involving only two grounds, saying that fears of undue burden on
employers were unfounded given the current duties under British law. 
ERT also called for the provisions to be extended to include protection
from indirect discrimination and harassment, citing the number of cases
already brought under British law which had involved these types of
discrimination. 

To read the Equality Bill, click here:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/085/voli/2009085i.pdf
 

To read ERT’s full submission to the Bill Committee, click here:
http://www.equalrightstrust.org/ertdocumentbank/The%20Equal%20Rights%20Trust%
20Memorandum%20to%20the%20Committee%20on%20the%20Equality%20Bill.pdf
 

To read ERT’s full response to the Multiple Discrimination consultation,
click here:
http://www.equalrightstrust.org/ertdocumentbank/The%20Equal%20Rights%20Trust%
20Multiple%20discrimination%20Consultation%20Response.pdf
 

To VOTE FOR EQUALITY and sign the Declaration of Principles on Equality,
click here: http://www.equalrightstrust.org/endorse/index.htm