Work and Pensions Committee report on Equality Bill

29 April 2009

The Workand Pensions Committee today publishes its Third Report of Session 2008-09, entitled The Equality Bill: how disability equality fits within a single Equality Act.

Committee Chairman Terry Rooney said:

"Our Committee warmly welcomes the increased simplicity the Equality Bill will bring to understanding and complying with Discrimination law. However, the evidence we took persuaded us that more needs to be done to ensure that the right approach is taken with regard to disability discrimination. This by nature should be based on treating people differently in order to encourage equal opportunities. We hope our report will provide a constructive contribution to ensure that this is done and done in the right way."

"In any event, relying upon individuals to bring about systemic change through individual litigation places a heavy burden upon disabled people who, in many instances, experience discrimination on a daily basis which would be time consuming and exhausting to challenge on each and every occasion. We recommend that the Government introduces provision for class and representative actions and extends powers for employment tribunals to make recommendations that employers amend their policies or practices and to order reinstatement."

"The Equality and Human Rights Commission has a unique role as the only public organisation that has responsibility for all equality and diversity strands and should take a more strategic role in monitoring and researching enforcement of equality legislation."

"We completed our inquiry before the Equality Bill was published but we intended that our report should inform consideration in both Houses of this important legislation."

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