Monday, 29 November 2010

Disability equality forty years on featured on BBC

Forty years after the first Disability Act was introduced, a new BBC survey has shown that people with disabilities still face discrimination.

The Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act proposed ideas such as help at home, the right to proper assessment of people's needs, and the idea that making the environment accessible to disabled people was the responsibility of local councils.

A new BBC survey has shown that 40% of people believe that people with disabilities turn down jobs, even when they are physically able to do them.

What needs to be done to end disability discrimination? by By Peter White the BBC Disability Affairs Correspondent appeared on the BBC website today. A week of BBC features looking at the issues facing people with disabilities. To see this story visit

To find out more about The Equality Act 2010 and how jml Training can help your copmay follow this link

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

REC offers Equality Act 2010 tips for employers

Latest REC Legal bulletin focuses on Equality Act - 19th November 2010

The introduction of the Equality Act 2010 provides recruiters with a useful opportunity to look over their processes and procedures to make sure all is well. The recruitment process must be free from unlawful discrimination and since the recruitment will often start with a job adverts, it is crucial that recruiters are aware of the dos and don’ts when it comes to advertising client roles.

The REC’s new Legal bulletin takes an in-depth look at what the new provisions of the Act mean for both recruiters and clients, and how discrimination in adverts can be avoided.

Only in special circumstances can adverts now be worded to invite applications from female jobseekers and the bulletin lists these exceptions in detail.

The REC’s Legal Helpline currently deals with around 300 inquiries a week from members on a wide range of topics. In the current bulletin, Emily Neal, one of the helpline’s team of legal advisors, looks at some of the frequently asked questions and answers which have been received of late.

For example, how do you deal with temps who demand holiday pay for leave they have not taken during the year and what is the procedure if a candidate asks to see copies of documents and other information, such as references, which a recruitment agency holds on them.

The legal round-up includes a plan by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to name and shame employers who fail to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage and new guidance which is now available from the UK Border Agency on preventing illegal working.

Source REC

More information about the REC - The Recruitment & Employment Confederation is the representative body for the UK’s £19.7 billion private recruitment and staffing industry with a membership of more than 8,000 corporate members (including recruitment companies and their branches) comprising agencies and businesses from across all sectors and 5,500 members of the Institute of Recruitment Professionals (IRP) made up of recruitment consultants and other industry professionals. All members must abide by an REC Code of Professional Practice.

More information about the Equality Act 2010 Visit jml Training Here

Monday, 22 November 2010

Implications of the Equality Act for Letting agents accepting Landlord instructions

The November/December 2010 edition of "Agreement" magazine (the official magazine of ARLA The Association of Residential Letting Agents) has a very good two page feature on the Equality Act 2010

The Don't discriminate - Know the new rules has a page on employers needing to comply with the wider resoinsibilities in the new Equality Act and this is also repeated in "The Estate Agent" (the magazine of the NAEA - National Association of Estate Agents).

This covers the main issues - Disability discrimination, discrimination by association, Perceprion discrimination, pre-emplyment health checks and Dual discrimation etc - areas covered on the jml-training website at information_Employers

The other page asks "What are the implications of the Equality Act for letting agents when accepting instructions from landlords?"
Issues covered in the article focus on popular areas that many landlords want when they let their property out - Students - Pets - People on housing benefit. According to the article, if you declined to let a property to students, "there is no possibility of anyone challenging this on the basis that this discriminates on the grounds of age.

This is because Part 4 of the Equality Act 2010 which deals with lettings does not apply to the protected characteristics of age, or marriage and civil partnership. It is therefore not unlawful to discriminate, whether directly or indirectly, on the grounds of age when you let, sell or otherwise dispose of, premises.

Pets is an area that often comes up in the lettings business. Although more and more landlords now generally accept pets, because there are a lot more people renting these days and therefore more pet owners.

The article says "refusing to let properties to people with pets is more problematic, as it could clearly adversely affect tenants who have guide dogs or assistance dogs"

" It would be unlawful not to let to a blind person because they had a guide dog, unless you could justify it. The Equality Act 2010 makes it unlawful for person A to treat a disabled person (B) unfavourably because of something that is a result of B's disability unless A can show that the treatment was justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim."
It is suggested that if landlord does not want pets then they could say "except assistance dogs". Of course many blocks of flats will not allow pets and this fact is written into the head lease.
Tenants on Housing Benefits Many landlords do not want to accept tenants whose rent or a large part of it is paid by the local authority in the form of housing benefit. First of all if the landlord has legal expenses / rent guarantee insurance the proper reference checks cannot be properly done by the insurance company. This means they might not issue cover in the event of a claim.
Then there is the "clawback rule" If a tenant has not be entitled to the housing benefit, then the local authority can claim this back from the landlord (or letting agent if it was paid to the agent) many months after the payment had been made. Some landlords and agents suggest the payment therefore has to be made to the tenant direct. However if the tenant decided not to pay it over to the landlord and spend it on something different, the landlord does not get the rent.

The ARLA Agreement "Legal Update" page says"For a landlord to stipulate no tenants on benefit is much less straightforward. The danger here is the possibility of a challenge on the grounds of indirectly discriminating against disabled people - the assumption being that someone on benefits is more likely to have a disability than someone not on benefit.

For a claim to succeed, there would have to be statistical proof that disabled people are significantly more likely to be on benefits than people who are not disabled.

The landlord or agent would then have to demonstrate that refusing to let to benefit claimants is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. That would be virtually impossible to prove, so there could be a breach of the Equality Act"
Solicitor Richard Jones argues that in view of the furore surrounding Local Housing Allowance, the landlord might be able to justify excluding housing benefit tenants. The landlord could say that he or she does not want to get involved with all the hassle and run the risk of arrears, as LHA is paid to the tenant.

Richard Jones is a Solicitor and Partner in Bury & Walkers LLP. He is the Senior Partner at the Leeds Office.

Richard Jones has had a long and varied career and has considerable experience of most areas of the law. Richard now concentrates on residential landlord and tenant matters. Richard’s particular speciality is acting for Landlords Associations representing landlords in the private rented sector.

Richard is the Secretary of the Residential Landlords Association. This Association is one of two landlords associations representing landlords throughout England and Wales. It is based in Sale in Manchester. This work involves campaigning on behalf of landlords particularly in relation to legislative and regulatory affairs. This work includes scrutinising legislation, responding to Government consultations, appearing before Parliamentary Select Committees, as well as considerable work with various local authorities. Richard is an acknowledged expert in this field nationally.

Source of this article: ARLA Agreement Magazine - Bury & Walkers - Philip Suter FNAEA MARLA

Looking for Equal Opportunities Training Equality Act Training Diversity Training? Then the website to visit is jml HERE

Friday, 5 November 2010

Equal Pay Day 2010

Equal Pay Day 2010 marks the day of the year when women in effect stop getting paid because of the pay gap between women and men of 16.4 per cent. 40 years after the Equal Pay Act, an unprecedented coalition has come together to publish a new report identifying how to close the UK’s persistent gender pay gap once and for all.

The Fawcett Society, UNISON, the TUC and the Equality and Human Rights Commission have together produced ‘Equal Pay: Where Next?’, a report showcasing the latest thinking from business, unions, employers, policy makers, campaigners and more on how to close the pay gap between women and men once and for all, with key recommendations for government and others on tackling one of the largest inequalities still remaining between UK women and men. (1)

The reports advocates that action is needed in four key areas to have any real impact on the pay gap:

1) Debunking the myth that equal pay is bad for business, showing that, actually, equal pay ‘pays.’
2) Making equal pay law ‘fit for purpose’ – starting by implementing the 2010 Equality Act, with its measures to improve employer transparency on pay rates for women and men, in full.
3) Changing working practices to reflect the modern workforce and support families, for example, increasing flexible working and job shares.
4) Tackling outdated and stereotyped ideas about men and women’s roles – in particular through education.

Welcoming the report, Ceri Goddard, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, said:

“With job losses in the public sector and spending cuts already threatening women’s overall economic independence, robust action on equal pay is more not less important. Given the pay gap in the private sector is even wider than the public sector, it’s particularly key that government fully implement the Equality Act 2010. This will give them powers to require big business to measure and publish any gaps in their male and female pay rates if voluntary progress is not forthcoming. The Government must send a clear signal to all employers that unequal pay has no place in the 21st century workplace, whatever the economic context.”

Dave Prentis, General Secretary of Unison, said:

“It is an utter disgrace that women are still getting paid a significant amount less than men. The fear is that progress will be turned back, rather than built on, in the coming years. Drastic, ideologically motivated, public sector cuts are set to deal the biggest blow to women, who make more use of, and find more jobs in, the public sector. The government should be taking steps to give women their full protection – starting with overhauling the law. The time it takes for women to challenge unequal pay is a major hurdle. We have members who have sadly died in the time it takes to resolve an equal pay case. Allowing unions to take group action would also help more women challenge unfair pay.”

Sarah Veale CBE, Head of Equality and Employment Rights at the TUC, said:

“The recession forced many employers to rethink working practises in order to keep valuable staff. This flexibility needs to continue so that work can be remodelled to fit the skills of all workers, whatever their gender. The dearth of talented women in senior jobs and the endless gender pay gap is as much an economic failing as a social injustice.”

Source: The Fawcett Society: 2 November is Equal Pay Day.
The Fawcett Society is the UK’s leading campaign for equality between women and men. Where there's an inequality gap between women and men they are working to close it.

Looking for Equal Opportunities Training Equality Act Training Diversity Training? Then the website to visit is jml HERE

Staff cuts 'could leave public sector open to fraud' ILM news report

04 November 2010

Spending constraints and staff cuts in the wrong places could leave the public sector open to fraud, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has said.

Employees affected by redundancy, as well as suppliers faced with contract termination, could seek to maximise their benefits before leaving, potentially putting the public sector at risk of fraud, a report by the firm found.

The study, Navigating Your Way Through Stormy Waters, notes that the increased threat of scams will impact on various parts of the public sector at different times as the cuts take effect.

Ian Elliott, partner at PwC, said: "In good times, loss through fraud is less visible as delivery of services is still possible, even with a certain level of misappropriation. Things are tightening now and businesses everywhere are seeking to reduce loss through waste in all its forms."

The news comes just weeks after a study by Badenoch & Clark found that many public sector workers are worried that their skills will not be useful to private companies.

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Gender pay gap

The Institute of Leadership and Management - ILM issued a news article earlier this week - 3rd November 2010 "Gender pay gap 'needs to be addressed'"

According to the organisation, women earn 16.4% less than their male counterparts.

Equal Pay Day, which took place yesterday (2 November), marked the day of the year when women stop getting paid because of the pay gap, it said.

Ceri Goddard, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, said that with spending cuts and job losses already threatening women's economic independence, the need for equal pay is even more important.

"Given the pay gap in the private sector is even wider than the public sector, it's particularly key that government fully implement the Equality Act 2010," she added.

Her comments were echoed by Beverley Skeggs, a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London, who said that women are less likely to be paid as well or promoted as quickly as men.

Looking for Equal Opportunities Training Equality Act Training Diversity Training? Then the website to visit is jml HERE