‘Dual discrimination’ proposals welcomed

PROPOSALS by the government to protect employees who suffer from a combination of types of discrimination have been broadly welcomed by city employment specialists.

As the law currently stands, if an employee feels they are being discriminated on two issues they have to bring separate claims relating to each characteristic such as age, disability, race or sex. Under the new proposals, they will be able to bring a single claim for two protected characteristics.

Phil Cookson, employment specialist at city based lawyers Roythorne Christmas said: “The proposals mean for example, that if for example an black female employee felt she was being discriminated against because her employer has discriminatory attitudes to black women, rather than black men or white women, she would be able to bring a single claim for combined race and sex discrimination.”

The proposals have been put forward as part of the Equality Bill which is currently going though the committee stage in the House of Commons.  There have been a number of changes proposed to the bill including removing the name from CVs, and measures to reduce the pay gap between men and women.

Mr Cookson said: “This is a positive move and will in many ways make it easier for employers as all the issues will be dealt with in one case, and so save time and money. From the employees side also it should make the process easier and the whole picture to be taken into account.”

“Whether the proposals make their way into law remains to be seen. The bill is currently scheduled to become law in the autumn of 2010, but with a general election looming this could all change, as the Conservatives oppose some of the measures in the Bill as it currently stands.”

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