Global menu

Our global pages

Close

UK Discrimination Law Review: Equality law forecast

  • United Kingdom
  • Discrimination law - HR e-briefs

02-06-2015

What to expect Impact
Unison v Lord Chancellor: Unison is appealing its unsuccessful judicial review proceedings, brought to challenge the introduction of ET fees. The Court of Appeal hearing is on 16/17 June. If the appeal succeeds, the new government will be expected to lower fee levels and/or alter remission thresholds.

Walker v Innospec Ltd: this Summer the Court of Appeal will consider whether, in a pension scheme, survivors’ benefits for same-sex civil and married partners must take account of service accrued before 5 December 2005 (when sexual orientation discrimination became unlawful).

Depending on the outcome of the case, employers may have to check their pension schemes for compliance.
Windle v Arada: on 8 or 9 July the Court of Appeal will consider whether two interpreters who performed regular assignments for the court service were protected by the Equality Act 2010. The decision could give useful guidance on the issue of when non-employees have protection against discrimination.
CHEZ Razpredelenie Bulgaria AD v Komisa za zashtita ot diskiminatsia: an ECJ ruling is awaited on whether EU law recognises the concept of indirect discrimination by association. A finding in favour of the claimant will expand the reach of discrimination law.
ETs’ power to make wider recommendations in discrimination claims will be removed on 1 October. ETs will still be able to recommend that a party take specified steps to reduce the adverse effect of discrimination on the claimant but not steps aimed solely at reducing adverse effect on other people. While this is an infrequently used power, its removal will be welcomed by employers.
Larger employers in the private and third sector are to be required to report on their gender pay gap. The government will consult shortly with a view to introducing new laws before April 2016. Employers should review their pay practices to ensure they can identify and explain pay gaps. Non-compliance risks a £5000 fine and potential reputational damage.
Ashers Baking Co Ltd v Lee: there is to be an appeal against the decision of a county court in Northern Ireland that a bakery discriminated against a customer unlawfully when it refused, on religious grounds, to decorate a cake with a message supporting same sex marriage. Although the appeal court’s decision will not be binding in the rest of the UK, it will, nonetheless, be considered persuasive when courts are dealing with a similar clash of rights.
Brierley and others v ASDA Stores Ltd: thousands of equal pay claims have been brought by female shop floor workers claiming same pay as male workers in distribution centres.  The issue of whether the jobs involve work of equal value is likely to be heard next year. Other large supermarket chains are at risk of similar claims.
The Equality Act is to be amended to cover caste discrimination, although no date has yet been fixed. Employers may need to amend policies in due course.

Key

EAT Employment Appeal Tribunal
ET Employment Tribunal
ECJ Court of Justice of the European Union

 

For more information contact

< Go back

Print Friendly and PDF
Subscribe to e-briefings