BRAIN FOOD: Workplace Rights - All things equal

This spring, the Government is to table proposals for a powerful new organisation - working title 'The Commission for Equality and Human Rights' - to champion equal opportunities in the UK. This will mean scrapping existing bodies covering sex, race and disability discrimination: the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission. The new body will take responsibility for recently introduced laws outlawing discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and religion or belief, plus the all-important legislation on age discrimination, scheduled for 2006. It will also 'provide support for the promotion of human rights'. A single organisation providing joined-up advice and policy on the full range of equality and diversity issues is a welcome development.

by Michael Burd and James Davies, Lewis Silkin solicitors, e-mail:
Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Yet critics argue that the proposals don't go far enough and that the various discrimination laws should be harmonised in a single equality Act. Conversely, some businesses may fear that more powerful and cohesive enforcement of equality laws will translate into increased exposure to employment tribunal litigation. After all, one person's rights culture is another's litigation culture.

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