The Equality Bill was published on Monday (27 April 2009), the aim of which is to harmonise discrimination law and to strengthen the law to progress equality. Whilst there can be little doubt that that the Bill will be subject to considerable debate before it is brought into force, there are a few key elements worthy of note:
• The Bill extends the prohibition on discrimination by association to all forms of discrimination.
• In some circumstances employers will be expressly liable for harassment by third parties in the workplace.
• Positive discrimination during the recruitment process will be permissible, enabling employers to recruit or promote someone from an under- represented group where they have a choice between a number of suitable candidates.
• “Gagging” clauses, which prohibit employees discussing pay with colleagues, will be prohibited.
• Tribunals will be able to make recommendations that employers found guilty of discrimination take steps to remedy matters for the benefit of an individual claimant and for the benefit of the workforce as a whole.
• The Secretary of State may order employers with more than 250 employers to publish information about disparity in pay between male and female employees.
If you would like further information about the Equality Bill and its likely impact, please contact a member of the Employment Practice on 020 7495 3003 or by email to [email protected]