Feeds

UK equality laws 'fall short of EU requirements', says Commission

Less equal than others

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The UK's equality laws are inadequate, according to the European Commission which has announced that it has begun legal action against the UK. The Government claims that new equality legislation will settle the dispute.

The Commission has said that the UK's laws are not compliant with the Equal Treatment Directive. It has begun legal action over the issue.

"This directive was agreed unanimously by all EU countries in 2002, but to be effective it needs to be fully and correctly transposed into national law," said Vladimír Špidla, EU Commissioner for Equal Opportunities. "We call on the UK Government to make the necessary changes to its gender equality legislation as soon as possible so as to fully comply with the EU rules."

The Commission has sent the Government a Reasoned Opinion, which is the first step in the legal process, highlighting four areas in which UK law is deficient.

"The definition of indirect discrimination is too narrow, as it does not cover potential discrimination," it said. "The exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination on the basis of sex for certain jobs are too wide."

"The exceptions to the principle of non-discrimination for 'office-holders' in political institutions are not defined with sufficient precision," said the Commission in a statement. "The right of associations to support victims of discrimination before the courts is not established with sufficient clarity."

Employment law expert Morag Hutchison of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that the Government had an opportunity to address the Commission's concerns. It was, she said, in the process of putting a new Equality Bill through Parliament.

"I would think that the Government will consider the issues raised in the context of the Equality Bill and will take the opportunity to amend the Bill to deal with the issues," she said.

That proposed law will bring together laws on age, race, disability and sex discrimination into one piece of legislation that it hopes will be easier to use and understand.

EU Commissioner Špidla said that the Bill could help the problems the Commission has identified. "We welcome the proposed Equality Bill and hope that it will come into force quickly," he said.

The Government Equalities Office said that it had already satisfied some of the Commission's earlier concerns.

"We will be studying the Reasoned Opinions carefully and will reply to the Commission towards the end of January," said a spokesman. "The Equality Bill was announced in the Queen’s Speech on 18 November so will be continuing its progress through Parliament during the fifth session."

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
No, thank you. I will not code for the Caliphate
Some assignments, even the Bongster decline must
Kaspersky backpedals on 'done nothing wrong, nothing to fear' blather
Founder (and internet passport fan) now says privacy is precious
TROLL SLAYER Google grabs $1.3 MEEELLION in patent counter-suit
Chocolate Factory hits back at firm for suing customers
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Sit tight, fanbois. Apple's '$400' wearable release slips into early 2015
Sources: time to put in plenty of clock-watching for' iWatch
Ex-IBM CEO John Akers dies at 79
An era disrupted by the advent of the PC
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?