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Equality North East

Employers urged to face up to legal changes, says legal experts

Businesses must get to grips with changes to discrimination law or face the consequences, warns Gareth McGhee, senior partner at EM Legal following the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 at the start of October.

As well as putting discrimination laws like the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Race Relations Act 1976 under one roof, the Equality Act modifies and extends the protection given to existing and prospective employees.

Among the changes is the widening of the circumstances recognised by legislation in which employers may be liable for harassment of employees by third parties like customers or suppliers. In line with trends in recent employment case law, the Act will also formally enable individuals who would not directly be entitled to rely on discrimination laws to claim because of their association with someone who does qualify. For example, an employee who cares for a disabled relative or dependent may be able to claim protection under the disability discrimination provisions of the Act where such care impacts on their working life in some way.

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November 4, 2010

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