Recent developments in disability legislation necessitate caution when situations arise concerning disability and long-term sickness absence.
We can advise you on your legal obligations in these circumstances and provide practical guidance as to how to comply. We also have considerable experience of defending disability discrimination claims and work closely in conjunction with our dispute resolution team where there are personal injury implications.
Race Discrimination legislation applies to job applicants and workers, and covers all aspects of employment, from recruitment to pay, and training to the termination of a contract. There is an exception where a job may be restricted to people of a particular race or ethnic or national origin, if it is a genuine occupational qualification for the job. This may apply, for example to a photographic model or actor where a person of a particular racial group is required for reasons of authenticity.
Religion or Belief
Religion or belief is described within the legislation as being any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief. It will be for the Employment Tribunal and Courts to decide whether a particular belief is covered by the Regulation, however philosophical and political beliefs will not be covered unless they are similar to religious beliefs.
Under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (as amended) it is unlawful for employers to discriminate on grounds of sex, marital status, pregnancy, maternity leave or gender reassignment.
Under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees because of their sexual orientation. Legislation protects those whose orientation is towards someone of the same sex (lesbians or gay men), opposite sex, (heterosexual) or both sexes (bisexual).
Trade Union Membership
There are various pieces of legislation which protect workers against discrimination either because they belong or do not belong to a Trade Union.
Age discrimination has been unlawful since October 2006. The legislation prohibits direct and indirect age discrimination, unless such treatment can be objectively justified. Direct discrimination may be, for example, asking a 50 year old job applicant to undergo a medical examination and not asking a younger applicant to do the same. Indirect discrimination is the application of a provision, criteria or practice which results in less favourable treatment of a category of workers, on the grounds of their age. This might include, for example, advertising a job for a "newly qualified" candidate, which may discriminate against older candidates.
A statutory default retirement age of 65, which will be reviewed in 2011. If an employer has a compulsory retirement age below this it will generally be unlawful unless it can be objectively justified. A retirement at age 65 will be a fair dismissal so long as it is a "planned" retirement and the employer has followed the "duty to consider" procedure. A planned retirement involves the employer notifying the employee in writing at least 6 months in advance of the retirement date.
For further advice contact our team direct or talk to your usual contact in the firm.