High Court ruling forces government to change sex discrimination and harassment law

The government has promised to change sex discrimination law “as soon as is reasonably practicable” following a High Court decision last week.

A judge ruled the government failed to properly implement the European Equal Treatment Directive within UK sex discrimination law.

He gave the government seven days to to explain how it planned to remedy the situation.

It is understood the Department of Trade and Industry will not appeal the decision and will now make steps to change the law.

Communities secretary and minister for women Ruth Kelly will consult with the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) over the changes. An EOC spokeswoman said she hoped Kelly would act as quickly as possible in implementing changes.

The EOC challenged the government’s sex discrimination regulations, arguing that women would not enjoy the full protection against harassment and pregnancy discrimination required by the original European directive, and that they could lose aspects of existing maternity rights already established in UK case law.

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