The Equality Bill continues to progress through Parliament towards an implementation date in 2010. It has now completed the Commons Committee stage. The main changes to date from the original draft are:
- the introduction of the concept of a claim based on dual discrimination (previously referred to as multiple discrimination), which allows an employee to bring a discrimination claim based upon two or more protected characteristics, for example race and sex;
- the test for work related pregnancy and maternity discrimination being changed so that a woman will have to show only that she was treated 'unfavourably' not 'less favourably', effectively confirming the position established by case law that there is no need for a comparator;
- an amendment to prevent contracting out of the provisions of the Equality Bill, for example preventing employers contracting out of provisions such as the compulsory pay audits that may be introduced by future Regulations; and
- an amendment seeking to overcome the problems created by the Malcolm decision (see above). The current drafting is too widely drafted and lacks clarity. The Solicitor General will re-draft a definition of "discrimination arising from disability" in time for the report stage.