The government has proposed a new ‘dual discrimination’ clause should be inserted into the Equality Bill to protect those who may suffer discrimination due to a combination of factors.
Currentlly, people may only bring separate discrimination claims relating to one ‘protected characteristic’ such as their age, disability, gender ridentity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
However, the proposed amendment would mean that those being discriminated against because they are, for example, both gay and black, would be able to ring a single claim for combined race and sex discrimination.
Vera Baird, solicitor general and Equality Bill lead minister, said: “People’s identities are multi-faceted and complex, and we are delighted to bring forward an amendment to the Equality Bill which would reflect this.
“This clause would provide protection for people who at present would have to guess on what basis they have been discriminated against, wholly outside their dignity.
“Business will benefit if all the issues in one case can be dealt with together and there will be better access to justice for all.
“Protection against ‘dual discrimination”’ would be a progressive step forward and confirm our place as a world leader in the fight against discrimination and disadvantage.”
A Stonewall spokesman welcomed the plans, saying: “Where the law doesn’t already provide a remedy for cases of dual discrimination, we welcome this proposal. It’s right that sexual orientation is included.
“Stonewall research for example has shown that lesbians can face particular issues because of both their gender and sexual orientation, at work and in important services like healthcare. Clear guidance will be vital in this area to help individuals and employers understand what this new clause means for them.”