Employers recoil from planned equality laws

Employers are fed up with the amount of legislation they are already expected to contend with and do not support the Government’s Equality Bill, a survey shows.

Senior human resources staff are apathetic about the Bill, according to a survey carried out by Pinsent Masons in conjunction with Personnel Today magazine.

Politicians say they want the Equality Bill to “de-clutter” existing discrimination laws. But the survey suggested that more than a third of employers did not think the move would make things clearer.

They are also concerned about the time and expense of implementing the new law, which some reports say could be rushed through early next year.

The Equality Bill survived a ‘cull’ of the planned laws included in this year’s Queen’s Speech.

If it becomes law, it will place a duty on public bodies – like the police and local councils – to promote homosexual and transsexual equality.

It will also allow political parties to use all-women shortlists for candidates until 2030. Some homosexual activists are pressing for all-gay shortlists to also be allowed.

Employers will be allowed to increase diversity by choosing to appoint people based on their sex or ethnic background.

Selwyn Blyth, Senior Associate and National Client Training Manager in the employment law team at Pinsent Masons said: “HR directors have faced a great deal of equality legislation introduced by the government in recent years and with this bill it’s almost as if we’ve reached legislation fatigue.”

He added: “Given the apparent apathy for the new legislation, you would have to question whether or not organisations will commit adequate resources to it – if there is not the top-level commitment, the government may find that we’re five years down the line, with no apparent change.”

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