Tag archives: discrimination

Preparing to return to the workplace – what should employers be doing?

As the UK Government has published the Plan to Rebuild – the UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy to transition England from lockdown, one of the key areas is how to get people back to the workplace safely.  The Government has also published guidance covering eight workplace settings which are allowed to be open, intended to make workplaces as safe as possible and to give people confidence to go back to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance was developed in consultation with businesses, unions and industry leaders.

The guidance sets out five key points which should be implemented by employers … Continue Reading

UK Pensions – Could ethical veganism impact on future pension fund investments?

UK Pensions – Could ethical veganism impact on future pension fund investments?

January 2020

In an employment tribunal preliminary hearing on 3 January 2020, Judge Robin Postle ruled that ethical veganism satisfies the tests required for it to be a philosophical belief, with the result that it was protected under the Equality Act 2010. For a belief to be protected under the Act, it must meet a series of tests including being worthy of respect in a democratic society, not being incompatible with human dignity and not conflicting with fundamental rights of others. The ruling means that ethical vegans are … Continue Reading

Ethical Veganism is a Protected Characteristic

An employment tribunal in the UK has held that ethical veganism is a protected characteristic under UK discrimination law.

In the UK an employee is protected from discrimination in the workplace under one of the nine protected characteristics set out in the Equality Act 2010.  This includes protection in respect of religion, religious belief and philosophical belief.

The case involves an employee at the League Against Cruel Sports (LACS). He raised concerns that the organisations pension fund invested in some companies that tested products on animals or otherwise infringed the central tenets of his ethical veganism.  The disclosure was made … Continue Reading

Right to work in the UK and requests for evidence

A recent UK case considered whether an employer acted reasonably in requiring an employee, who was not a national of the European Economic Area (EEA), married to an EEA national, to produce documentation to show his right to work in the UK.

In the UK:

1) it is illegal to for an employer in the UK to employ somebody who does not have a right to work in the UK;

2) an employer can avoid liability for a civil penalty for breach of the above obligation if it carries out the requisite right to work checks before an employee’s employment … Continue Reading

Good Work Plan: Government issues further response and consultation to support families and pregnant women

As part of its Good Work Plan, the UK Government has recently published a response and a consultation paper on proposals which will protect and support families and pregnant women. The first Government paper considers extending redundancy protection for women and new parents.  The second consultation looks at various proposals to support families, including a review of the various parental leaves and pay entitlements, neo-natal leave and pay and providing transparency of employer’s work-life balance policies.

Good Work Plan: Pregnancy and Maternity Discrimination Consultation

As part of the Good Work Plan, the Government has considered changes to assist pregnant women … Continue Reading

Ethnicity pay gap reporting in the UK

As reported in an earlier post, the UK Government introduced mandatory gender pay gap reporting in 2017.

An independent review conducted in 2017, Race in the workplace, made a number of recommendations for removing the barriers to workplace progression faced by ethnic minorities including the introduction of mandatory reporting of ethnicity pay data. At that time the UK Government expressed a preference for a voluntary approach to ethnicity pay reporting.

However, following a later report revealing that very few employers collect ethnicity pay data, the Government has decided that mandatory ethnicity pay reporting is necessary to enable employers to … Continue Reading

BC Court of Appeal affirms BC approach to “family status” discrimination cases

The British Columbia Court of Appeal (the “BCCA”) recently issued an important decision about family status discrimination. In Envirocon Environmental Services, ULC v. Suen (“Envirocon”), a unanimous BCCA affirmed the existing legal test for adverse discrimination on the ground of family status under the BC Human Rights Code (the “Code”). For BC employers, this is a welcome decision.

In Envirocon, Mr. Suen was fired when, shortly after the birth of his daughter, he refused a work assignment that would have required him to work outside of BC for eight to ten weeks. Mr. Suen alleged … Continue Reading

Religious discrimination claim – whose religion?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that where an employer (or individuals on behalf of the employer) acts because of their own religion or belief, this may not lead to an employee bringing a successful claim for direct discrimination on grounds of religion or belief. The EAT upheld the employer’s appeal, overturning the Employment Tribunal decision.

The case involved a teacher at a nursery run in accordance with ultra-orthodox Jewish principles, who was dismissed after complaints made by parents who were aware that she was cohabiting with her partner. At a meeting, the headteacher and the nursery’s managing director … Continue Reading

Direct Discrimination – how far can this go?

The recent case of Lee v Ashers Baking Company Limited and Others has hit the headlines in looking at what amounts to direct discrimination in terms of the provision of services to individuals.  What effect does this case have on discrimination in the employment field?

The case involved a family owned bakery, whose owners strict religious beliefs include opposition to gay marriage. They were asked to provide a customised cake with a photograph and wording stating “Support Gay Marriage”.  They cancelled the order due to their religious belief and provided a refund to the customer.

The individual brought a discrimination … Continue Reading

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