Equality and Discrimination: The New Law
The domestic law concerning discrimination is currently contained in five separate Acts and four sets of primary regulations, reflecting no less than six main EU Directives.
The Equality Act seeks to harmonise discrimination law, and to strengthen the law in a number of areas including:-
- place a new duty on certain public authorities to consider socio-economic disadvantage when taking strategic decisions about how to exercise their functions;
- extend the circumstances in which a person is protected against discrimination, harassment or victimisation because of a protected characteristic;
- create a duty on listed public authorities when carrying out their functions and on other persons when carrying out public functions to have due regard when carrying out their functions to the need to eliminate conduct which the Bill prohibits;
- allow an employer or service provider or other organisation to take positive action so as to enable existing or potential employees or customers to overcome or minimise a disadvantage arising from a protected characteristic;
- extend the permission for political parties to use women-only shortlists for election candidates to 2030;
- enable an employment tribunal to make a recommendation to a respondent who has lost a discrimination claim to take certain steps to remedy matters not just for the benefit of the individual claimant (who may have already left the organisation concerned) but also the wider workforce.