Equality Bill

This long awaited piece of legislation is due to hit the statute books this Spring, with many of its provisions coming into force in October. It is this year’s most significant piece of legislation so far and will affect employers in both the private and public sectors. As well as harmonising and consolidating discrimination legislation, it will also strengthen it. For example, new types of disability discrimination will redress the balance in favour of the employee following the case of London Borough of Lewisham v Malcolm. Also, the definitions of direct discrimination and harassment will be widened to cover claims based on “association” and “perception” and there will be a new type of claim for gender pay discrimination based on hypothetical comparators. Widely publicised in the press is the extension of the concept of positive action to enable employers to choose from two equally qualified candidates, the person who is from a group which is under-represented in their workforce. It will also be possible for claimants to bring “multiple” direct discrimination claims. Finally, amongst other things, proposals to make the gender pay gap more transparent include a power to issue regulations which can require large employers (250+ employees) in the private sector to report their gender pay gap. Public bodies with more than 150 employees will be required to do this from 2011.Continue Reading What’s on the cards for UK employment legislation this year?