Posts Tagged ‘Equality Act’

An electrician and former soldier faces the sack for displaying a small palm cross in the window of his company van.

As reported by The Telegraph, Colin Atkinson, 64, from Wakefield, has been called to a disciplinary hearing at the housing association where he has worked for 15 years.

His bosses at the publicly funded Wakefield and District Housing (WDH) have demanded he remove the eight inch long cross made from woven palm leaves that sits on the dashboard of his van.

A spokesperson for the Council said “We do not allow employees to display any personal representations in our vehicles, although they are free to do so upon their person.”

This is interesting in that it is a reminder of a case in 2010 when the English courts held that it was not unlawful discrimination for the employer (British Airways) to ban Nadia Eweida, a Christian employee from wearing a cross at work.

The Court of Appeal ruled that to establish indirect religious discrimination, an identifiable section of a workforce (quite possibly a small one but not a solitary individual) must be shown to suffer a particular disadvantage. Ms Eweida is taking her case to the European Court of Human Rights.

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In October 2010 the Equality Act will make it unlawful to ask job applicants about their health. The thinking behind this move is that employers are discriminating at application stage against applicants with mental health issues and other disabilities. 

I personally find this unhelpful because if interview panels cannot ask applicants about their disabilities how are reputable employers supposed to help applicants overcome them in the work environment!  Companies urged to review applicant health questionnaires – Telegraph. ELE will shortly produce a pre-employment application pro forma to assist ELE members with this process. We will notify members when it is issued.

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The Government hase issued a Press Release stating that The Equality Act is set to go ahead in line with the planned October timetable. Employers can expect landmark provisions to protect disabled people from discrimination and efforts to narrow the gender pay gap. More details on the Government Equalities Office website.

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