ToryDems nearly swallow Labour blueprint of equality for all
Employers aghast at discrimination by association
The former Labour government's Equality Act 2010 mainly came into force today, prompting howls of pain from employers' groups.
It's hard to imagine the ToryDems like the whole of the act, but they've decided to lump most of it. Indeed they shelved the original timetable for the act, keeping back key parts they disagree with. Civil servants have put the best possible spin on it, saying it tidies up a raft of disparate legislation, and will "deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society".
The British Chamber of Commerce probably speaks for large parts of the business community when it raises "concerns about the amount of employment red tape to be implemented between 2010 and 2014" arguing that the government should be rolling back red tape to allow more jobs to be created. It claims the act will impose a one-off cost of £189.2m on business, with further legislation liked to cost firms £11.3bn between now and 2014.
New provisions include "associated" discrimination, so for example, people associated with or perceived to be associated with a protected characteristic, eg carers for a disabled relative, can claim protection under the act.
The "definition of gender reassignment" is changed, by removing the medical provision requirement.
Breastfeeding mothers get protection. Employers can be held responsible for third party harassment, eg of frontline staff by customers, and this is extended to all "protected characteristics".
"Secrecy clauses" are banned, to ensure discriminatory payscales cannot be hidden.
Employment tribunals will be able to make recommendations that affect the whole workforce of an organisation, not just the complainant.
The act also extends "protection in private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment," and allows "claims for direct gender pay discrimination where there is no actual comparator".
The government is still "considering" a range of other provisions, including "dual discrimination", diversity reporting by political parties, and positive action in recruitment and promotion.
David Frost, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said: “If private sector businesses are to offset job losses in the public sector, the significant costs of employing people must be reduced. As austerity measures start to bite, companies need the flexibility and freedom to boost employment and drive our economic recovery." ®
Speaking as a member of a "minority", something about this makes me uncomfortable.
Where's the logic in preventing harassment based only on a shopping list of "protected characteristics"? True equality would mean giving everyone redress from harassment, for any reason at all, including pure spite.
Nearly and then some
My sister works for a governemnt department and under the latest gender awareness malarkey her entire section was ordered to go on a gender and transgender awareness day.
So for a good few hours, 20 or so people were paid by us, to go and sit in a hotel room paid for by us where 2 transgender persons, also paid for by us, regaled them with tales of what it is like being a transgender person today in Britain. You could understand this from an equality of treatment viewpoint, but they then went into great graphic detail about what it means to be transgender, how the operation performed, which parts are chopped off and and how the female parts are made from the outside in male scrotum. People were by this time understandably going pale and a bit green round the giils, but it got worse. They were then invited to imagine what sex might be like with one of the transgender persons commenting to the group that it was really like having sex with a brillo pad.
Now, I am all for equality of opportunity, and training people to follow fairness in employment, but did they really need to be told in such graphic detail what it was like to have sex with a transsexual in order to understand how to treat someone without discrimination?
It strikes me, that like everything else, we set upa framework to protect people and immediately vested interests take over and start pushing their own (in this case brillo related) agendas.
Coat because I feel sullied just relating it to you and need something to hide under.
By creating lists like these, we divide society.
The lists can never be long enough for those not on them.
By these means we tie ourselves in knots
and set one against the other.
Lacking true compassion,
we substitute rules and regulations,