At work


This cross-cutting theme is now closed for comments.

You can read comments made since the start of the Red Tape Challenge in April 2011 below.

You can also still submit comments to the Red Tape Challenge inbox by clicking here.

The Equality Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against, harass or victimise someone at work.  For example, it is unlawful for an employer to refuse someone a promotion because they are a man, or to sexually harass a female colleague.  The Act also makes it unlawful for an employer to pay men and women differently because of their sex when they are doing the same or an equivalent job or work of equal value.

The Act mainly brings together what was in previous law.  In addition it:

The Act also enables Parliament to make further legislation to require private and voluntary sector employers with 250 or more employees to report on their gender pay gap.  The Government does not intend to implement this measure.  Instead, it is working with business to encourage the publication of equality workforce data on a voluntary basis.

The Act also contains a measure which makes employers liable if an employee is repeatedly harassed by a customer or supplier.  The Government plans to consult later this year on removing this measure.

Tell us what you think should happen to these measures and why, being specific where possible

228 responses to At work

  • Equality Challenge Unit said on June 30, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    This section of the Act should be kept as it is. We need regulations to ensure that employers treat staff fairly and that all staff have a safe and productive environment to work in. This will be beneficial for productivity and should be seen as a positive move rather than as bureaucracy. We are concerned that there are proposals to repeal the section on third party harassment (as outlined in the budget) even before this provision has been used in a court of law. There is a lack of empirical evidence to demonstrate that this provision will increase bureaucracy. Employers should have a duty of care to their employees and this includes protecting them from repeated third party harassment.

  • Jessica Southgate said on June 30, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    The Equality Act is a simplification of previous equality law bringing together three different equality duties, including all the provisions enshrined in The Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, and is an essential piece of legislation to protect everyone at work. It protects individuals from discrimination, makes clear what actions are considered discriminatory under law, and is a tool for employers to create greater equality within their workplaces. All of these functions promote a fairer society for us all and no part of this should be changed or removed.

  • Unite the union said on June 30, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    All of the Equality Act 2010 “themes” listed have taken years of campaigning at times by Trade Unions and other stakeholders and have successfully made it through both the House of Parliament and the House of Lords before taking their place on the statute book.

    The Equality Act is a very important new piece of legislation and not a set of regulations and to our dismay many of its provisions have not even been enacted by the Government. Placing the Equality Act on the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ website is in contradiction with what is clearly stated on the site itself that the Equality Act 2010 brought together nine separate pieces of legislation in order to make the law simpler and remove inconsistencies.

    The ‘Red Tape Challenge for Equalities’ should not be used as a sounding board for the Government of the day to remove and change legislation as they feel based on ad hoc website comments. This is undemocratic and completely ignores the democratic process that we already have for law creation, change or removal.

    [Text deleted]

    In addition Unite would like to take this opportunity to state how extremely concerned Unite are with the Government’s drastic cuts programme, which is jeopardising the recovery and may even lead to a ‘double dip’ recession. [Text deleted]
    Continued investment in our public, private and voluntary sectors is crucial to delivering and maintaining economic growth. It will not only help build the UK out of recession by providing jobs and attracting investment, but provides an essential element for long-term, sustainable growth.

    From the programme of cuts along with the inclusion of the Equality Act 2010 in the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ we could only surmise that the government is not serious about tackling inequalities and eliminating discrimination in our society.

    Every woman, Black, Asian and ethnic minority, disabled, LGBT, young and older person makes a substantial direct and indirect contribution to the UK economy and [Text deleted]

  • Trish Richards said on June 30, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    I feel that all the anti-discrimination measures which the Equality Act brings should remain in place. This act was a long time coming. It has been formulated by experts over time and I suspect at considerable cost.
    Please leave it alone: This government seems keen on “cuts” on financial grounds so save some money by inaction here!

  • Bob Green said on June 30, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    The Equality Act 2010 was introduced to do exactly what this Red Tape Challenge is proposing: simplify equalities legislation. The Government should be consulting with community groups to gather evidence about how successful the Equality Act is in tackling discrimination, promoting equality and developing good relations then review the Act to consider how it can be strengthened. The Equality Act should not be scrapped and the Government should keep the gender pay gap reports and protection against third party harassment. To rely on a voluntary code will just continue the current system which has not reduced the gender pay gap or prevented harassment faced by LGBT people.

  • Peter Bates said on June 30, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    [Text deleted] has a vision of a society where people are not disabled by the actions, attitudes or the environments of the community in which they live and work.

    Sustaining disabled people in employment is a crucial way of delivering a more equal society. Government policy is clear that when disabled people take up employment it is beneficial both for that individual, for society, and for the public finances. Research also shows how many employers are still reluctant to take on disabled people, something which the current unemployment situation will tend to exacerbate.

    The Equality Act continues legislation that has given disabled people better chance of getting an interview, of being hired and then remaining in employment. If a disabled person is harassed, discriminated against or victimised at work, it will be difficult for them to contribute their best to the organisation or the economy.

    These laws were brought in because some employers were shown to be discriminating against disabled people. If these laws don’t exist, or are weaker, or voluntary, those same employers will go back to discriminating against their workforce.

    A fair society requires strong equality laws. The measures on ‘At Work’ in the Equality Act should be left as they are or strengthened.

  • Nigel Williams, Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said on June 30, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    AT WORK

    How people are protected from unfair treatment by employers.

    Should we scrap them altogether?
    Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (e.g. through a voluntary code?). How?

    No: The Equality Act enables us to meet our obligation as a European Community member state to have statutory protection in place to address discrimination in the recruitment process and in the workplace.

    In addition to remove this protection is likely to make it much more difficult for the Government to meet its commitment to help people off welfare and into work.

    Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?

    No: The Equality Act is the product of a programme to reform, simplify and merge many pieces of diverse legislation to make a modern cohesive framework of equality laws that reflects society in the 21st century.

    There are concerns that some parts of the old legislation were not fully transferred into the new Act – for example the provisions on post-employment discrimination.

    The Act is not yet a year old and no cases have yet been decided on its provisions – it is premature and undesirable to propose changes that in any way reduce, diminish or minimise the scope or purpose of the Act.

    Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
    Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?

    No – with simple, effective advice and guidance on the implementation of the Act and the reporting requirements this should not burdensome.

    Should they be left as they are?

    Yes: We believe that the provisions on employment should not in any way be reduced.

  • Mind said on June 30, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Mind and other groups representing people with hidden and stigmatised health conditions lobbied hard for restrictions on the use of pre-employment health questionnaires to be introduced jn the Equality Act. We were pleased that cross-party consensus and support from the business lobby enabled us to enact this change, which is a huge step forward in ensuring people with mental health problems have a level playing field in applying for jobs.

    Employers are now expected to change their practice about asking questions early in the recruitment process about an applicant’s health. In the vast majority of cases this should not cause difficulty. We have been told by some employers that they regard health questionnaires as onerous and not necessary for the vast majority of positions. One reported that questionnaires were being processed and stored, but never used, so they stopped what had become a purely administrative and unnecessary process.

    For those who do use health questionnaires, it was already accepted as good practice that health questionnaires would not be seen by the interview panel because finding the best candidate should focus on each applicant’s skills and attributes – and should not be influenced by hidden or sub-conscious factors. An employer is entitled to look for the best candidate for the role. This provision encourages employers to be open-minded in their search.

    However, evidence shows some employers were using health questionnaires in a discriminatory way, as a tool to weed out people with mental health problems who they assumed to be less able to perform the job or more of a risk. Mind has heard regularly from people who feel their employment chances are undermined by having to disclose mental health history on application forms of health questionnaires. One example is: “I was working as a teacher when I had depression and I self-harmed. I had to leave my job. When I started applying for work again, I called it “stress” to employers because of mental health stigma, but even then I think they declined to employ me because of the stigma around having stress. Somebody told me if you didn’t disclose your mental health and then had to take time off, you could be sacked for false disclosure. Out of nearly ninety jobs that I applied for, I was invited to only one interview, where I didn’t get the job. I felt worthless.”

    The restrictions on pre-employment health questionnaires are therefore vital to stamp out discriminatory practices by some employers. For most, the change will not be onerous as they were not engaging in poor practice. For others, it is quite right their discriminatory behaviour can be more transparent and openly challenged, as the onus is now on employers who use questionnaires to show they have not discriminated.

    However, some employers have told us there is a lack of clarity around the exceptions to the ban on using health questionnaires before a conditional job offer, particularly around requirements that are “intrinsic” to the job. Rather than changing the law, the Government should improve guidance for employers on this. For our part, Mind and the CIPD are producing tools for employers on disclosure at recruitment, to help them negotiate the sensitivities and legal requirements of these situations.

  • Tim Brogden said on June 30, 2011 at 11:19 am

    Should we scrap them altogether?
    No. No aspect of the Act should be scrapped. We all fall within one or more of the protected characteristics and therefore, could experience inequality and discrimination. The Act offers us a means by which we can be treated fairly and equally.
    Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?
    No. In order for groups to be able to challenge inequality and discrimination there needs to be basic principles they can draw upon which are enshrined in law. Before the Equality Act 2010 (and previous equality legislation) we were reliant on the voluntary actions of public authorities and organisations. The real experiences of inequality and discrimination during this voluntary period clearly demonstrate why a voluntary code does not work. A voluntary code does not give basic rights as understood by all parties but is reliant on the good will of those deeming to offer it. This is totally unacceptable.

    Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?
    No. The Equality Act 2010 is already a very recent simplification of past equalities legislation, such
    as the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (RR(A)A) and Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA).
    The Act has been developed in extensive consultation with key partners from business and a wide
    range of communities. The provisions have been developed for all members of civil society, and
    provide rights and protections from discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 should not be reformed,
    simplified or merged. If we want a fair and equal society, then we need to enshrine that right in
    law.

    Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
    No. The term bureaucracy is not helpful and implies that for a public authority to know its
    community is a dogmatic paper process, when in fact it can inform the policy and practice more
    effectively and can play a part in eliminating inequality and discrimination. If public authorities are
    to be held to account by the community they service, then there need to be clear, demonstrable
    measures that local communities can access.

    Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?
    It is no doubt a ‘burden’ on local communities and to civil society when communities face
    disadvantage and discrimination; this can lead to health and social inequalities, education and
    criminal justice inequalities and so on. For communities to be active and participative, then public
    authorities must be transparent and accountable for their actions. Far from being seen as
    burdensome, the enforcement of the Act is crucial in establishing a fully engaged civic society.
    Equal rights are not a burden, for example, do we consider it a burden when we say every child
    should have access to education?

    Should they be left as they are?
    Yes. Given the Act has been developed by extensive working across government departments, with
    cross-party support and with significant input from a diverse range of communities and businesses,
    any dilution of the Act will be seen as a regression. For equality and fairness to be reflected in our
    society the Act is essential. In fact the Act should be strengthened and enforced fully. Government
    must not and should not consider the rights of society as a ‘burden’.

  • Chief Fire Officers Association Scotland - Stewart Edgar Chair of Equality & Diversity Group said on June 30, 2011 at 11:13 am

    Should we scrap them altogether?
    No: The employment provisions of the Act provide employers, employees, ex-employees and prospective employees with a clear outline of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and practice.

    Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?
    No: Regulation drives change in culture and attitude. Legislation provides clear and absolute terms for individuals and organisations to rely upon in determining whether a course of action is fair. Legislation provides the mechanism for individuals to challenge decisions that seem unfair and provides decision makers with the framework to consider the impact of their decisions before they are implemented. The constant stream of legal challenges against employers indicates that even with the existence of long-standing legislation some employers still use discriminatory practices – removing the legislation is unlikely to improve the compliance of some employers with the principles of non-discrimination. Statutory and non-statutory guidance is an important supplement to legislation but not an adequate replacement.

    Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?
    No: The Equality Act is the product of a programme to reform, simplify and merge several pieces of legislation to make a modern framework of equality laws that would reflect the society of the 21st century. There are concerns that some parts of the old legislation were not fully transferred into the new Act; for example, the provisions on post-employment discrimination. It is not yet a year old and no cases have yet been decided on its provisions. We consider that it would be premature and undesirable to propose changes that reduce, diminish or minimise the scope or purpose of the Act.

    Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
    Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?
    No: We do not consider that the employment provisions of the Equality Act are burdensome or bureaucratic. We consider that they provide a proportionate balance between the rights of employees and employers. We consider that there should be a single statutory agency (such as the EHRC) which provides authoritative advice and guidance on the proper implementation of the legislation.

    Should they be left as they are?
    Yes: We consider that the provisions on employment should not (and cannot) be reduced.

  • Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service said on June 30, 2011 at 10:40 am

    At Work
    (How people are protected from unfair treatment by employers)

     Should we scrap them altogether?
    No. Previous discrimination in employment practices and recruitment are partly responsible for the lack of diversity in some areas of work. Absence of discrimination and a workplace that values difference has been shown to result in more productive organisations with stable employee relations.

     Could their purpose be achieved in a non -regulatory way?
    No. Legislation was introduced to stop unfair discrimination at work on grounds of the PCs and over the years has had to be strengthened to ensure legislation is complied with. There is no evidence to suggest that public services and employers would voluntarily comply since the number of ETs in past years show that even with legislation there is still a lack of compliance in some areas.

     Could they be reformed, simplified or merged?
    No. Protection from discrimination at work may have developed piecemeal in the past but the new Equality Act has already achieved simplification.

     Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation?
    We don’t consider the present provisions for protecting people from discrimination at work to be bureaucratic.

     Should they be left as they are?
    Yes. The employment provisions of the Equality Act were thoroughly consulted on last year and we see no reason to change these now.

  • Elaine Gerrard said on June 30, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Should we scrap them altogether?
    No: The employment provisions of the Act provide employers, employees, ex-employees and prospective employees with a clear outline of what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and practice.

    Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?
    No: Regulation drives change in culture and attitude. Legislation provides clear and absolute terms for individuals and organisations to rely upon in determining whether a course of action is fair. Legislation provides the mechanism for individuals to challenge decisions that seem unfair and provides decision makers with the framework to consider the impact of their decisions before they are implemented. The constant stream of legal challenges against employers indicates that even with the existence of long-standing legislation some employers still use discriminatory practices – removing the legislation is unlikely to improve the compliance of some employers with the principles of non-discrimination. Statutory and non-statutory guidance is an important supplement to legislation but not an adequate replacement.

    Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?
    No: The Equality Act is the product of a programme to reform, simplify and merge several pieces of legislation to make a modern framework of equality laws that would reflect the society of the 21st century. There are concerns that some parts of the old legislation were not fully transferred into the new Act; for example, the provisions on post-employment discrimination. It is not yet a year old and no cases have yet been decided on its provisions. We consider that it would be premature and undesirable to propose changes that reduce, diminish or minimise the scope or purpose of the Act.

    Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
    Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?
    No: We do not consider that the employment provisions of the Equality Act are burdensome or bureaucratic. We consider that they provide a proportionate balance between the rights of employees and employers. We consider that there should be a single statutory agency (such as the EHRC) which provides authoritative advice and guidance on the proper implementation of the legislation.

    Should they be left as they are?
    Yes: We consider that the provisions on employment should not (and cannot) be reduced.

  • Heather Williams said on June 30, 2011 at 8:24 am

    The Equality Act 2010 is an essential piece of legislation to ensure equality of access and opportunity for all. The idea that it is bureaucratic and burdensome is ludicrous. These measures should be kept as they are.

  • Carole Rutherford said on June 29, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    • Should we scrap them altogether?

    ACT NOW believes would be disastrous for people with disabilities and society as a whole if this Act were to be scrapped or integrated with areas of existing legislation. Many people and communities worked together to ensure we had an Act that was just and fair and which gives vulnerable people the protection they deserve.

    The Act was designed to improve quality of life for people with disabilities and should be built upon, not destroyed.

    ACT NOW finds it repugnant that the Equalities Act should even be considered as ‘Red Tape’. The Government chose to include this Act in the ‘Red Tape Challenge’ says a great deal about the lack of commitment toward vulnerable people who are less able than other members of our society.

    The Equalities Act has not had enough time to have a positive impact on the lives of people with disabilities. The Act needs to be adhered to and should be protected. It should certainly not be watered down or diluted, or scrapped.

    Governments have a duty to protect all citizens from all forms of discrimination. This legislation is needed to protect people who vulnerable and disadvantaged.

    It was once said (Hubert H Humphery) that ‘The moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.’

    Asking how the enforcement of the Act can be made less burdensome is sending out a clear message that people with disabilities are a burden to society and the state purse and are not worthy of the protection this Act provides them with.

    • Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?

    A non-regulatory way would not be able to protect the characteristics of the Equalities Act. Any type of voluntary code would simply allow the dilution of the Act and allow for an inconsistent approach. It would also allow different bodies of people to interpret the Act as they felt or deemed appropriate.

    The autism community has suffered for years without the necessary legislation to protect vulnerable children and adults with autism. (Scotland still has no legislated autism strategy) To purport that a voluntary code could take the place of legislation would be a big step backward.

    The autism community lobbied for legislation for years because Governmental guidance and guidelines have failed to provide our community with the measures required to ensure that children and adults with autism were not subject to disability discrimination.

    The legislation within the Act must be enforced in full and not on voluntary basis. It is wrong to compromise the protection that the Act offers people with disabilities.

    It is a myth that people with disabilities are heading toward being fully included into our society. Only 15% of adults with autism are in full time and meaningful employment. That is as opposed to 48% of the whole population of people with disabilities. (Labour Force survey, office for national statistics 2008) Adults with autism are being marginalised and discriminated against amongst and compared to other disabled groups.

    Often adults with autism want to work and with the correct level of support can work and yet employers are less likely to employ someone with autism as it is an often misunderstood hidden disability. The low employment figures cannot be attributed to a lack of desire to work, and demonstrate that it is considerably more difficult for an adult with autism than an adult with another disability to secure full time, permanent employment.

    There are a number of key challenges that prevent people with autism from accessing work. These range from a lack of appropriate skills due to problems in accessing education and training (including social skills and work skills training) to the failure of employers to understand and make reasonable adjustments (both during the recruitment process and in the workplace) and a lack of appropriate support for people with autism to find and sustain employment.

    A lack of understanding that autism is a spectrum condition can lead to inappropriate, stereotypical or narrow responses and active discrimination. Adults with autism have told us about employment advisers who had recommended only certain types of jobs to them, social workers who had assumed that all people with autism have a learning disability and others who had simply directed all adults with autism to Aspergers syndrome support groups. These are all active forms of positive discrimination by people and examples of adults with autism being made to fit into society in a way that some professionals believe they must.

    This is why the Equalities Act is vitally important to anyone who has an autistic spectrum condition.

    • Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?

    The Equality Act 2010 is the coming together of past equalities legislation, such as the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 (RR(A)A) and Disability Discrimination Act 2005 (DDA). The Act was developed after in-depth and extensive consultation with key partners from business and a wide range of communities.

    The provisions within the Act have been developed for all members of a civil society and provide rights and protection from discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 should not be reformed, simplified or merged. If we want a fair and equal society, then we need to enshrine that right in law.

    The Act is necessary as a stand-alone piece of legislation because it sends out a clear message to each and every sector in society that it is unlawful to discriminate against vulnerable people and that those people are protected by judiciary. The Government should seek to strengthen the Act.

    The Act gives a promise and offers hope to people with disabilities that they will be treated fairly and that reasonable adjustments will be made to enable them to be fully included into all aspects of life. This includes employment, social activities, housing and choice and control. Denying people with disabilities the life chances that others take for granted must be not be tolerated.

    Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?

    Bureaucracy will be reduced when a clear and concise message is sent out to every member of our society that discrimination will not be tolerated in law given the weight of the Equalities Act. This will help to ensure that attitudes and behaviour towards people with disabilities begin to change.

    • Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?

    ACT NOW find this particular question extremely distasteful. There are many thousands of people in our society who live with disability every day with no hope of being able to make their disability less burdensome.

    How something can be deemed ‘burdensome’ when vulnerable people are leading difficult lives every day is quite incomprehensible. Some people with disabilities are struggling to even exist, many are ignored or ineligible for support.

    We believe that the Government have a duty of care to vulnerable members of society who are often unable to protect themselves. We should be 100% certain that our Government has stepped up to the mark to offer these people the best possible protection.

    People with disabilities are excluded from job opportunities. They are often made to ‘fit in’ rather than reasonable adjustments being made which would enable and not disable that person. The correct reasonable adjustment could improve life chances and socio economic stability. People with disabilities are often hidden within our communities, often ignored or bullied by other members of their communities. They face disadvantage and discrimination and this can lead to health and social inequalities, education and criminal justice inequalities.

    Public authorities, employers and communities must be transparent and accountable for their actions. Far from being seen as burdensome, the enforcement of the Act is crucial in establishing a fully engaged civic society. Equal rights are not a burden.

    We have to stop going through the motions of including people with disabilities and turn it into a reality. By constantly offering employers, housing associations, public venues, activities, buildings even voluntary organizations a clause that enables them to actively discriminate against people with disabilities, we show a total lack of respect for anyone who is living with disability.

    People with disabilities have a great deal to offer society if they were actually treated as equals and not second rate citizens who it is acceptable for employers and businesses to sideline and push to one side.

    Should they be left as they are?

    Given the Equalities Act was developed by extensive working across government departments, with cross-party support and with significant input from a diverse range of communities and businesses, any dilution of the Act will regressive for any member of our society who has a disability.

    The Equalities Act is absolutely essential if we want a commitment to equality and fairness to be reflected across the spectrum of society. ACT NOW would like to see this Act strengthened and enforced in full. It is morally wrong for any Government to consider people with disabilities as burdensome or to place the Equalities Act in its ‘Red Tape Challenge.’

  • OSDC Ltd said on June 29, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    At work:
    Clear guidelines for employers around employment and recruitment processes would enable to people to ensure they are doing all they can to develop a diverse workforce which is representative of their local community.

    Some employers may find the new legislation confusing in relation to pre-employment questionnaires and how they fit in with using the two ticks symbol to guarantee interviews to disabled people who meet the essential criteria of a job.

    While employers are unable to enforce pay secrecy clauses they are still able to use them. This makes the law unclear and could be confusing for employees.

    Occupational segregation continues to be a major contributing factor in the gender pay gap. Any reporting on gender pay difference by employers should be disaggregated by status/grade rather than produced as global figures for a whole company.

    • Katherine Corich said on June 30, 2011 at 8:27 am

      Thank you for this feedback. Regarding the comment on the gender pay gap, might it also be useful to report on pay in relation to perrformance targets, in addition to status and grade.

  • LM said on June 29, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    No change required

  • Paul Green, Chair, Southwark Council LGBT Staff Group said on June 29, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    The prevention of discrimination and harassment in the workplace towards LGBT staff members should remain. It should be made compulsory for organisations to monitor their LGBT staff in order to recognise pay gaps and other inequalities as harrassment is not the only form of discrimination in the work place. This should be done using Stonewall’s guidance

  • Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service said on June 29, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Should we scrap them altogether?
    Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?

    No: We consider that these proposals are unwarranted and unrealistic as we have an obligation as a European Community member state to have statutory protection in place to address discrimination in the recruitment process and in the workplace.

    Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?

    No: The Equality Act is the product of a programme to reform, simplify and merge several pieces of legislation to make a modern framework of equality laws that would reflect the society of the 21st century. There are concerns that some parts of the old legislation were not fully transferred into the new Act; for example, the provisions on post-employment discrimination. It is not yet a year old and no cases have yet been decided on its provisions. We consider that it would be premature and undesirable to propose changes that reduce, diminish or minimise the scope or purpose of the Act.

    Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
    Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?

    No: We do not consider that the employment provisions of the Equality Act are burdensome or bureaucratic. We consider that they provide a proportionate balance between the rights of employees and employers. We consider that there should be a statutory agency (such as the EHRC) which provides authoritative advice and guidance on the proper implementation of the legislation.

    Should they be left as they are?

    Yes: We consider that the provisions on employment should not (and cannot) be reduced.

  • Hemant Mistry said on June 29, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    We can only describe the present government approach to abolish Equality Act 2010 approved by Parliament as “misguided”. The government talks about transparency and accountability, yet wants to abolish the Equality Act through under-hand tactics. The Equality Act is the only Act that I can remember being subject of detailed public consultation before being approved. We are very proud of the British Government record on tackling discrimination through legislation. We have come along way as a nation from the earlier days when members of the Asian, Chinese and African Caribbean community could only go into some shops and when companies only advertised for “whites only”

    I for one would not wish to see the return of the 50, 60, 70, and 80’s. Legislation over the years has made substantial difference to the lives of “Protected Characteristics” and through introduction of legislation our society is much fairer and tolerant and therefore we would not wish to see the Equality Act 2010 undermined in any way. This government must be shamed of its self to even put this import legislation for public consultation. This Equality Act is a tool for identifying, combating and preventing the potential adverse impact of a public and private sector policies, services and functions on its residents and staff. The Equality Act is not a “bureaucracy burden” on the public or business sector, but the Act, in our view, is designed to help public and private sector provide and deliver excellent services to residents / customers by making sure that their business practice reflects the needs of the community. The Equality Act is a tool to help the society to be more competitive and removing the Equality Act will take this Country back into dark ages. We strongly believe that it is the role of the government to help public and private sector to implement this vital legislation. No other Act impacts on the lives of millions of people then the Equality Act 2010, therefore the Act should not be touched or modified in shape form or manner

  • Adam Winter, The Lesbian & Gay Foundation said on June 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    All of the above parts of the legislation should be kept in place to ensure people have the maximum possible legal protections at work, especially for LGB&T people, for whom equality is not yet as established as a basic right. Employers should be liable if an employee is repeatedly harassed by a customer/supplier.

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