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Is Anti-Discrimination law going far enough in UK?

no picture BreedCompassion
Member since September 2, 2013
  • 5 Posts

So I’ve been doing a lot of reading around discrimination and prejudice in civil law at the minute and I have to say I feel very proud to be Scottish reading how well equipped it is. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the legislation the Equality Act 2010 is the main piece of anti-discrimination legislation in the workforce. Within the act are a number of ‘protected characteristics’ that are protected by the act from prejudiced behaviour. These include age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, and sexual orientation. This is clearly a sufficiently well equipped piece of legislation. In particular, I feel it protects those with disability very well by having extensive provision in that obliges employers and service to make reasonable adjustments in order to ensure equality. As you can see by the protected characteristics the legislation clearly covers a vast range of areas but does it go far enough?

In the Act there is no room for crosscutting of protected characteristics. This is a result of most of the protected characteristics being legislated due to a campaign for that particular area. An example being extensive woman’s rights campaigners prompted legislation protecting women. However, this does means that there is no sufficient protection for someone who falls within two protected characteristics and as a result suffers from a discrimination that is a completely different product than the two individual characteristics alone. For example, a black female may feel they are being discriminated due to them being a mixture of both black and female but not because of one characteristic of theirs. Arguably, it is correct that a black woman may experience a completely different stereotype to someone who is just black or just a female. The legislation would require you to prove that you had been discriminated for being black and separately prove that you had been discriminated for being a woman. I believe this narrow provision of the legislation is hindering the potential for a lot of discrimination claims to be successful in UK. I feel the legislation looks very satisfactory on paper but the actual functionality of dealing with protected characteristics in complete isolation is restrictive and impractical.

Another factor that the legislation doesn’t encompass is ‘class’ and ‘fattism’. I feel that these are two major stereotypes of the modern day and should be included in the legislation. This means that campaigns would need to be rallied in order to receive this protection. Do you think that these should be included in protection against discrimination?

What are your thoughts on how the legislation could improve? Or does it in fact need to?

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