The Government has published its response to the consultation on the Equalities Bill. A new equality duty will be placed on public bodies which will bring together the existing duties and extend to gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief. The Bill will contain powers to outlaw unjustifiable age discrimination by those providing goods, facilities and services.

Secrecy clauses which prevent people discussing their own pay will be banned.

Positive action will be extended so that employers can take into account, when selecting between two equally qualified candidates, under representation of disadvantaged groups.

Tribunals will be allowed to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases.

The ‘two tier’ levels of definition and tests in the Race Relations Act will be abolished and the definition of indirect discrimination will be standardised.

The Government will devise a model for exceptions which includes a genuine occupational requirement for all grounds of discrimination at work except for disability. The law will be streamlined and strengthened for:

  • Transsexual people;
  • Pregnant women and new mothers;
  • Disabled people;
  • Members of private clubs.

Protection against harassment outside work on grounds of age will be extended.

There will be no protection for discrimination against carers although the Government is considering what the implications of Coleman v Attridge might be.