Unions fight to close loophole indiversity law

The TUC is to co-ordinate a union-backed legal challenge to new regulations
which could allow pension schemes and religious organisations to continue to
discriminate against lesbian and gay workers.

The challenge is being lodged to address what the unions believe are
loopholes in the legislation which outlaws discrimination on the basis of
sexual orientation or religion, and comes into force in December.

Seven of the TUC’s affiliated unions (including Amicus-MSF and Unison) have
lodged papers with the High Court, because they believe the regulations are not
being implemented as required by the original EU Employment Equality Framework

The unions argue that aspects of the Government’s Employment Equality
(Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, which are meant to give lesbian and gay
people additional legal protection, will actually end up discriminating against

The unions’ legal challenge is based on two key points of the proposed UK law:
regulation 25, which relates to pensions, and regulation 7(3), which affects
people working for religious organisations.

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber, said: "The new sexual orientation
regulations will make a real difference to gay people. It is unfortunate the
Government has decided to exempt those working for religious organisations, and
wants to bar lesbians and gay men from receiving benefits from certain pension

The unions will also argue that as well as a misinterpretation of the EU
Framework Directive, the Government’s proposed regulations may also breach the
Human Rights Act 1988.

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