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Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the EHRC inquiry Discrimination Law Association response

pdfDiscrimination Law Association Response162.32 KB

The DLA  submission includes the following comments about the enforcement of equality and the utility of the Equality Act 2010:
1. The failure to implement section 14 (combined discrimination: dual characteristics) means that many instances of discrimination are simply not being dealt with in the courts. The reality of the adverse discrimination that people experience is that it is often less favourable or unfavourable treatment based on a combination of personal characteristics. The lack of legal recognition of the fact of discrimination against black women for example, means that the real reason for discrimination is not examined at all, and that it is often impossible for women who are also black for example to gain a remedy for the adverse treatment they have suffered. We see no reason for continuing to deny a remedy to people who suffer because of two or more characteristics. It has been unlawful to discriminate on grounds of race or of gender for over 30 years and it is simply illogical to refuse to recognize and provide a legal remedy for the disadvantage the combination of characteristics has. We would urge the immediate reconsideration is given to implementing this section of the Equality Act 2010.
2. Unlawful discrimination destroys lives and impacts on health and the long-lasting effects of harassment and discrimination in the work place are devastating for the individual. Research by the EHRC found that tens of thousands of women continue to be discriminated against because of pregnancy and maternity. Figures on discrimination on grounds of race and of mental health revealed in the last 12 months are shocking and show that existing measures are not working to prevent discrimination or to provide effective remedies on the workplace or elsewhere to those discriminated against. The discrimination law association believes that strong and enforceable individual rights remain key to challenging discrimination but are concerned that individual rights must be supported by stronger investigation and enforcement mechanisms from public bodies such as the EHRC and local authorities. The DLA would support enforceable obligations on public bodies and all who undertake government work, equality monitoring, equality standards in contracting and a requirement for consideration of equality impacts at all stages of decision making.
3. The DLA would welcome consideration being given to wider obligations on private bodies on reporting of equality measurements of workforce including workforce profiles, recruitment and selection and promotion and retention. We note that the legal profession has regulatory obligations and would welcome consideration being given to other areas of regulated industries such as finance and accounting for example.
4. The DLA are well aware from our members experiences abut also from much research carried out by the EHRC; the Womens Budget group and Runnymede amongst others, that inequality is often a feature and indicator of socio- economic disadvantage, if not a cause of it. We consider that an obligation to consider the impact of decisions on those who are economically disadvantaged is essential in any civilized society which is serious about reducing inequality.
5. The intention of the provisions in section 1 the Equality Act was to place a duty on public authorities to take into account socio economic inequalities when making polices and when implementing any of their functions. Going forward we would strongly support this section being implemented.
And much more!
pdfFull submission162.32 KB