Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Equality Act may take employers by surprise

"Employers may be taken by surprise by Equality Act" is the headline on the 30th September on the British Chamber of Commerce website.

British business owners have been told to prepare for the impact of the Equality Act, due to come into force on Friday October 1.

Companies of all sizes will be affected by the legislation, which has been more than five years in the making, as it will raise a range of practical points for employers to consider to avoid the risks of discrimination claims by employees.

Rachel Dineley from law firm Beachcroft LLP, said: “The new Act has been a long time coming. Its fundamental purpose is to bring together all existing discrimination protection into a single Act, with a view to ensuring consistency and clarity over how employees and job applicants are protected against incidents of discrimination in the workplace.”

Some of the key issues of the Act include: an extension of discrimination law, the prohibition on employers asking job applicants questions about their health, and new laws that allow employees to freely discuss their pay with one another.

Beachcroft LLP has informed employers that any action they take against workers discussing pay will be unlawful victimisation.

They have warned that with the recent changes in government and current focus on cost cutting, employers may be taken by surprise as job applicants and employees take advantage of the revised protection provided by the Act.

Source: British Chamber of Commerce / Crimson Business Ltd

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