The Equality Bill continues to make its way through the parliamentary process. Since our last update there have been a number of additional changes. Some notable ones are:-

  • The provisions concerning what health information can be sought from prospective employees have been tightened up. Presumptions in respect of discrimination have been added where an individual is turned down for a job on the grounds of the information disclosed. If these provisions appear in the final version of the legislation then employers will require to review very carefully their use of pre-employment questionnaires and their use of health related questions in job application forms or interviews to ensure they are compliant.
  • The rules concerning the protections for disclosures in connection with pay secrecy have been enhanced so that they now permit disclosure to someone other than a colleague including a trade union representative.
  • The provisions allowing religious organisations to lawfully refuse to employ individuals of a particular sexual orientation in certain roles have been strengthened although this change may not survive the return to the House of Commons.
  • The Bill may also be caught up in the “wash-up” before the General Election, which could lead to some of its more controversial provisions being dropped so that it reaches the statute book. We will provide more detailed information in our email updates and blog as soon as we have it.