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Equality North East

Is caste covered by the Equality Act?

Two solicitors are testing whether British equality law offers protection from class-based discrimination.

The first caste discrimination case is currently going through the Birmingham employment tribunal. The case highlights the potential problems faced by some employees in the UK, connected with the hereditary caste system, which for centuries has categorised people according to their occupational or social standing in countries such as India.

The case involves a couple of married solicitors, who met at a Coventry-based law firm, Heer Manak, where they both worked. Amardeep Begraj was a solicitor and Vijay Begraj the practice manager. Vijay Begraj belongs to the Dalit caste, formerly known as the 'untouchables' because of their work in roles such as cleaning or pest control. They are the lowest class of people according to India’s ancient caste system. His wife belongs to the Jat caste, traditionally regarded as a higher caste.

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August 25, 2011

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