… in brief

This month’s news in brief

DRC calls for an end to legal loophole

The Disability Rights Commission is demanding a change in the law, after the
Home Office used a legal loophole to refuse a blind man a job interview. A
tribunal upheld the Home Office’s view that the job fell outside the Disability
Discrimination Act 1995 because it was seen as a "statutory" office,
rather than a position of employment. The DRC says that exploiting the small
print of legislation goes against current good practice of recruiting disabled
people.

Public authorities must plan for the future

Public authorities should begin planning now for their future freedom of
information responsibilities, according to the information commissioner
Elizabeth France (previously data protection commissioner). Although the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 will not be brought into full force until 2005,
France advises public authorities to start the process of adapting to the
requirements of the Act as soon as possible.

Equality advice on-line

Employment and equal opportunities minister, Margaret Hodge has launched a
telephone service offering employers advice on equal opportunities. Equality
Direct is designed to help employers resolve management issues, offer
information and advice on good practice and the law and provide information on
effective equal opportunities strategies. Call 0845 600 3444 or access the
website at www.equalitydirect.org.uk

TUC welcomes legal learning rights

Union reps will have the legal right to take time off for training,
according to proposals in the recent white paper on Enterprise, Skills and
Innovation. Until now, reps have relied on being able to get time off work by
their employers.

IT industry will suffer under agency reform

Regulations aimed to make it easier for temporary workers to become
permanent staff will lead to problems in the IT industry, claims the
Association of Technology Staffing Companies. The regulations, warns the ATSC,
will lead to predatory tactics in a sector already with staff shortages.

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