UK equality laws 'fall short of EU requirements', says Commission
Less equal than others
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."
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OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.
The Equality bill is nothing of the sort, it is simply a quota system which will discriminate against white, middle class men. The country is run by idiots like Harman who believe it is more important to have equal numbers rather than the best person for the job. The UK is in terminal decline.
Rather like the tacit teaching that domestic violence is only bad towards females? Until equal pay is enforced - and arguments about fucking the economy don't hold when they've had decades to fix wage inequality - the State is sending the subliminal message that equality doesn't matter.
EU, meet UK, UK meet EU
That is the way UK laws are defined. They are too vague when they exit the parliament. From there on it is either to the government with additional legal instruments or a judge to establish a precedent.
So what the EU wants here is basically, for the UK to put its legal system to order, not fix gender equality laws. There will be quite a few repeat performances on this one. In fact, we might as well switch to napoleonic law straight away.
Nothing wrong with that provided that the EU also forces UK to accept the new charter of rights and specifically the most fundamental right which every EU cittizen has except for one country - UK. It is the right of presumption of innocence which is not a fundamental right in the UK (it is part of the constitutions of all EU countries). In fact, screw the equality legislation, they should start with that instead.