The Equality Bill – It really is enough to make you weep

Even though this is Labour’s little ‘baby’, truth is Cameron’s lot are just as likely to go ahead with it if they win the next GE.


October 2010

Most of the provisions of the [Discrimination Bill, known in ‘polite’ and deceitful circles as the] Equality Bill are expected to come into force as the Equality Act 2010. The purposes of this legislation are to harmonise the different strands of discrimination law and strengthen protection. Changes in the draft bill include:

  • Extending the prohibition on “associative and perceptive” discrimination and harassment to all discrimination strands. [I.e. If you were found guilty of discriminating against someone else and I perceived that you were discriminating against me, then you must have been!]
  • Employers will be explicitly liable for failing to prevent harassment by third parties. [I.e. Your employers will become the new Equality Thought Police to prevent themselves being heavily sued – thanks for your understanding, boss!]
  • Expanding the concept of positive action to allow employers to recruit or promote someone from an under-represented group where they have a choice between two or more “equally suitable” candidates. [I.e. More discrimination against white men, particularly white working-class men.]
  • Introducing the concept of a discrimination claim based on two combined characteristics where there may not be enough evidence to prove discrimination based on one characteristic alone. [“Iz it coz I iz a black queer?”]
  • Under the current proposals, there will be the potential for employees to claim direct sex discrimination in respect of pay and conditions based on a hypothetical comparator where there is no “equal” male-female. The majority of claims, therefore, should still be brought under the traditional equal pay concepts, rather than sex discrimination, but this new avenue will enable an individual to claim even where there is no actual comparator. [I.e. Where there wasn’t any evidence to prove sex discrimination in pay levels, all of a sudden we can invent it! Girl power!!]
  • An extension of age discrimination legislation to cover the provision of goods and services. [That one’s fair enough, actually.]
  • Introducing an “occupational requirement” defence across all protected characteristics and removing the job-specific “genuine occupational qualifications” in sex, gender reassignment and race cases. [I.e. Only only one-armed lesbian gypsies will be able to become One-Armed Lesbian Gypsy Outreach Workers. The rest of us won’t be able to complain we didn’t get the “job”… which is fair enough, actually… since we’ve got real jobs to be getting on with.]
  • Tribunals will be able to make recommendations that respondents who have lost discrimination claims take steps to remedy matters, not just for the benefit of the individual claimant, but also for the benefit of the wider workforce. Where the wider workforce is concerned, however, there is no remedy for failure to comply with the recommendation. [I.e. More tax-payers’ money will go to legal aid for lost cases to be resurrected for the ‘greater good’ of the poor and down-trodden victims, oops, minorities.]

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