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The Equality Bill

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Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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12 May 2009

The highly awaited Equality Bill, which was published on 27 April 2009, aims to combine all of the existing anti discrimination legislation dealing with sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief and age into one statute.

The Government's White Paper states that:

- Despite progress since 1997 to reduce the gender pay gap, women still earn, on average, 22.6% less per hour than men;

- Less academically able, but better off children, overtake more able, poorer children at school by the age of six;

- The gap between the employment rate of disabled people and the overall employment rate has decreased from 34.5% to 26.3% since 1998, but disabled people are still more than twice as likely to be out of work than non-disabled people;

- If you are from an ethnic minority, you were 17.9% less likely to find work in 1997 than a white person. The difference is still 13%;

- One in five older people are unsuccessful in getting quotations for motor insurance, travel insurance and car hire; and

- 6 out of 10 lesbian and gay school children experience homophobic bullying and many contemplate suicide as a result.

It is clear that discrimination is still widespread in today's society and further action is needed in order to reduce this.

Indeed, the Government states that if no action is taken now:

- the pay gap between men and women will not close until 2085; and

- it will take almost 100 years for people from ethnic minorities to get the same job prospects as white people.

The Equality Bill will strengthen the existing equality law by:

1. Introducing a new public sector duty to consider reducing socio-economic inequalities;

2. Putting a new Equality Duty on public bodies;

3. Using public procurement to improve equality;

4. Banning age discrimination outside the workplace;

5. Introducing gender pay reports;

6. Extending the scope to use positive action;

7. Strengthening the powers of employment tribunals;

8. Protecting carers from discrimination;

9. Protecting breastfeeding mothers;

10. Banning discrimination in private clubs; and

11. Strengthening protection from discrimination for disabled people.

The Government's White Paper provides some useful examples as to how the above can be implemented in practice.

The Government hopes that the Bill will be enacted next year.

Corinne Day is a trainee solicitor who specialises in information technology law and intellectual property law. She can be contacted via e-mail on corinne.day@lawdit.co.uk


About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-05-19 15:50:16 in Legal Articles

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