The Employers Forum on Age (EFA) has attacked the Government for failing to
take into account the needs of employers in its rush to create a new
super-commission for equality and human rights.
The EFA was responding to the White Paper Fairness for All,
which proposes the creation of a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights
(CEHR). This will combine the existing equality commissions – the Commission
for Racial Equality (CRE), the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) and the
Disability Rights Commission (DRC). It will also take responsibility for
religious, sexual orientation and age discrimination.
The body would have an annual budget of £50m and be a ‘one-stop shop’ for
anyone facing any kind of discrimination.
Now the EFA is calling for more time and pragmatism to establish what will
and will not work.
Sam Mercer, director of the EFA, said: "Giving employers so little
chance to make their voices heard is a bad deal for employers and working
"The Government runs the risk of both alienating employers and hearing
only from pressure groups who are intent on increasing
legislation. This has led to calls for a single equality act before the CEHR is
even in existence and able to establish that it is a good idea."
The DRC has also outlined concerns over the failure to harmonise equality
laws in place prior to the creation of a new CEHR.
Bert Massie, DRC chairman, said: "What’s good in the White Paper is
compromised by what is missing. The absence of proposals for harmonised
equality legislation remains a critical concern and a potential source of
rancour and division.
By Quentin Reade