Thursday, June 26, 2008

Today is Equality Day

Long awaited details of the Govt's Equality legislation due to be announced - not sure where though (parliament, press?).

Any way I'm sure the press will pick it up whenever it happens.

Will be interesting to see what happens to equal pay, procurement, representative action and the public duties to promote equality.

This is a mega block buster Bill that (hopefully) will last - if well drafted - over a generation.

From the Times of 23rd June:

The equality laws in England and Wales are an impenetrable thicket. There are 35 Acts, 52 statutory instruments, 32 codes of practice and 16 EC directives — 116 pieces in all covering 4,000 pages. If laid end to end, the Equality and Human Rights Commission points out, that would be the length of ten football pitches or height of 243 double-decker buses.

It would take about two-and-a-half days and two nights to read all the documents. Not only is the law inaccessible, it is out of date. It is also confusing and inconsistent. There are three different definitions of direct discrimination and four of indirect discrimination.

So, as the European Commission points out, an employer might be liable for harassment in one scenario; but not liable for exactly the same behaviour in another. The burden of proof will shift to the employer in some circumstances, but not in others. And if an employer instructs or pressures a member of staff to discriminate, he or she may be liable — but may not be.

From BBC today on Harriet Harman's interview this morning.

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