New legislation

Mordue, Chris
September 2005
Employers Law;Sep2005, p12
Trade Publication
This article presents information on new legislation relating to labor in Great Britain that will come into force in October 2005. October 1 sees little in the way of major changes--more tinkering at the margins of employment law. Of the changes taking effect in October, the one with the most impact is the amendment of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 to bring it in line with the European Union Equal Treatment Directive. A revised definition of indirect discrimination removes the requirement to show that treatment complained about is to the detriment of a considerably larger proportion of women than of men. Another change is the introduction of specific offences of discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave and of harassment. These changes are again more about tidying up the legislation, not radical reform. Since the Act has, to date, contained no such express provisions, the definition of direct discrimination on the grounds of sex has needed to be liberally interpreted to cover such offences. October also sees changes to the law on industrial action, delayed from April 2005. These simplify the content of the statutory information which unions must give to employers before ballots on industrial action and before industrial action begins--the current requirement to provide 'such information in the union's possession as would help the employer to make plans and bring information to the attention of employees' is replaced with a requirement to provide a list of the categories of employee to which the employees concerned belong, a list of their workplaces and the numbers of employees by workplace and category. The revised requirements are easier to understand (and for unions to comply with), but the impact on employers is not substantial.


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