The much-maligned Equality Act provision making employers potentially liable for harassment of employees by third parties – provided the harassment had occurred on two previous occasions and they knew about it – will disappear on 1 October. (Proceedings that relate to a contravention prior to that date will be allowed to continue/ be lodged after that date as the case may be.) Depending on the facts, employees may still be able to argue that an employer's failure to act in response to third party harassment amounts in itself to harassment or discrimination within the scope of the other Equality Act definitions.
The repeal of the two other Equality Act provisions which the Government has pledged to dispense with on the basis that they are unnecessary "red tape" will follow – the requirement to reply to discrimination questionnaires within a formal time limit is to stop in April next year and the tribunal's power to make wider recommendations (to reduce the adverse effect on "any other person" as well as on the complainant) is included in the Deregulation Bill currently going through Parliament.
The process for including caste discrimination within the race protected characteristic will be much slower. The Government has said that consultation will begin in February or March next year, with the legislation itself not finding its way to the statute books until the Summer of 2015.