The Equality Act enables, but does not require, people to encourage greater diversity in all the areas covered by discrimination law. For example, it allows employers to encourage people with protected characteristics (e.g. age, race etc) that are under-represented in the workforce to apply for jobs. Positive action doesn’t allow a less qualified person to be chosen for a job or promotion over someone who is better qualified. That would be positive discrimination and remains unlawful.
The Act mainly brings together what was in previous law. In addition it:
- allows employers to choose a candidate with a protected characteristic that is under-represented in the workforce over another candidate of equal merit when recruiting or promoting;
- allows political parties to use positive action to increase the diversity of election candidates.
The Act also enables Parliament to make further legislation to require political parties to report on the diversity of their election candidates.
These provisions contain voluntary measures to increase diversity
Tell us what you think should happen to these measures and why, being specific where possible
- Should we scrap them altogether?
- Could their purpose be achieved in a non-regulatory way (eg through a voluntary code?) How?
- Could they be reformed, simplified or merged? How?
- Can we reduce their bureaucracy through better implementation? How?
- Can we make their enforcement less burdensome? How?
- Should they be left as they are?