The Equality Bill has now completed the Commons Committee Stage. Here is a brief
update of the latest changes:

Dual discrimination

There have been calls for some time to allow claims for dual discrimination. It seems
nonsensical that someone with two protected characteristics should not be able to
bring a dual claim rather than two separate claims.
The new right however only allows for claims of direct dual discrimination to be
brought, and so it will not be possible to bring claims of indirect discrimination and
harassment based on dual discrimination. Therefore, under the new provision, a
disabled woman, for example, who had been discriminated against would be able to
bring a dual discrimination claim on the basis of sex and disability, rather than having
to make separate sex and/or disability claims.

Disability-related discrimination

A new clause has been introduced to deal with the outcome of the House of Lords’
decision in Malcolm (see the January 2009 edition of Bite Size). This case narrowed
the comparator test for disability-related discrimination to the extent that it is now very
difficult for a disabled person to show that they have been the recipient of disabilityrelated
less favourable treatment. At the Committee stage there was concern that the
clause, as currently drafted, does not fully reverse the Malcolm judgment. The
Solicitor General has now stated that the clause will most likely be re-drafted before it
goes to the Report stage to ensure that Malcolm is properly reversed.

Work-related pregnancy and maternity discrimination

The test for work-related pregnancy and maternity discrimination has also been
altered. As currently drafted, a woman must show that she has been treated
‘unfavourably’ rather than ‘less favourably’ (as required by the current relevant
legislation). This seems to make sense, as it addresses the current anomaly that a
woman must show less favourable treatment but without a need to compare her
treatment to a comparator.

For further information, please see:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmbills/131/09131.i-vii.html