Labour Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero has criticised a policy at retail giant New Look, which excludes gay employees from using a staff discount which is available to their straight counterparts.
New Look has confirmed that its staff discount is “under review”, after a PinkNews investigation revealed that its policy which allows a 50% discount to employees, and the same discount to one other person specifically of the opposite sex, could be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.
Despite that New Look specifically stated that the discount was “absolutely not designed to be a couples benefit”, a leading law firm advised PinkNews that the policy may be in breach of the Act by “indirectly discriminating” against people in same-sex couples.
Gloria De Piero told PinkNews: “It’s difficult to see from this policy why it’s so important that the other person is of the opposite sex. Whether or not inadvertent, New Look should think about the message this may send to staff in same sex relationships who want to take advantage of the offer for their partner just as opposite sex couples do.”
A New Look spokesperson had responded to say: “At New Look we are committed to listening to our employees to make sure they are being treated fairly and we continually review policies to make sure they match this. In light of recent feedback from our employees on our staff discount privileges we are reviewing our current policy in its entirety and ask for sufficient time to complete this.”
On alerting New Look to De Piero’s comments, the company reiterated that the policy was “under review”, but that “we will not be commenting on the issue further.”
Mark Bramwell, a Solicitor at MyLawyer, a firm providing legal services for customers of Barclays, Natwest and RBS, The AA and Admiral, had advised PinkNews that in his opinion: “This is clearly indirect discrimination of gay staff and a breach of the Equality Act 2010.”