Sex and religion anti-discrimination laws now in force

New
laws designed to prevent workplace discrimination on the grounds of sexual
orientation or religion are now in force.

The
rules on religion or belief are introduced today (2 December), while sexual
orientation regulations became law yesterday.

The
new legislation implements European directives outlawing discrimination on
these grounds and is part of a series of government regulations designed to
tackle discrimination in the workplace.

The
rules apply to all employers regardless of size or sector and will cover
recruitment, terms and conditions, pay, promotion, transfers and dismissals.

Jacqui
Smith, deputy minister for women and equality said: "We have long had laws
to prevent discrimination in the workplace against women and on grounds of race
[and] these new measures bring about much wider equality.

"For
the very first time we are making discrimination unlawful on the grounds of
sexual orientation, religion or belief in workplaces in England, Scotland and
Wales.

"Unfair
discrimination in employment must not be tolerated. People should not be denied
jobs, suffer victimisation or harassment, because of prejudice. It is also
damaging for business as they deny themselves access to the widest pool of
talent. A diverse workforce brings benefits – such as increased motivation,
lower turnover of staff, and access to wider markets," she added

For
further advice see the legal section of  www.personneltoday.com/legal

www.acas.org.uk
www.dti.gov.uk/er/equality/

By Ross Wigham

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