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4th August 2016

Equality Act 2010

The Government has published its response to the House of Lords Select Committee Report on the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people.

The Select Committee published the report in March 2016 which considered whether the Equality Act 2010 provides sufficient protection from disability discrimination. The conclusion was, in short, that sufficient protection is not provided and that more needs to be done to remove obstacles preventing disabled people from participating fully and equally in society.

In respect of collecting data on Employment Tribunal Claims, the Committee recommended that data relating to disability discrimination should be collected separately from the Employment Appeal Tribunal and County Courts. The Government rejected this recommendation on the grounds of cost.

The Committee also recommended that the Government should act on evidence that the fees that have been imposed on complainants to the Employment Tribunal are unfairly obstructing discrimination claims. There is evidence to suggest that the imposition of fees in the Employment Tribunal is preventing those with a potential disability discrimination claim from making their claim to the Tribunal. The Government confirmed that a review of fees will be shortly undertaken but stated that other factors such as changes to the law, improvements in the economy and the availability of Alternative Dispute Resolution are likely to have assisted the position of disabled people in these circumstances.

An important recommendation of the Committee was that more should be done to encourage employers to approve flexible working requests from carers of disabled people. The Government has confirmed that it will evaluate the policy by April 2019, but believes that the policy is currently working effectively.

The Government has all but rejected the recommendations of the Committee’s report which was designed to consider whether the Equality Act provides sufficient protection to disabled individuals. Nevertheless, given the current changes in Government, it is likely that the above matters will be revisited in the future.

Source: Chadwick Lawrence

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