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Is Britain now a more equal society?

08:40 UK time, Friday, 1 October 2010

New rules aimed at banning discrimination by employers, covering areas such as age, disability and pay, have come into force. Will these rules make Britain fairer?

The Equality Act covers many workplace areas and draws nine separate pieces of legislation into a single Act.

Equalities Minister Theresa May says it will now be easier for firms to comply with anti-discrimination rules. "In these challenging economic times it's more important than ever for employers to make the most of all the talent available," said Ms May.

Are you an employer? How will the new legislation affect you? Have you faced discrimination in the workplace? Will the changes impose a heavy burden on employers? Will the new legislation offer vulnerable workers more protection?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 9

  • Comment number 1.

    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing.

    Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???

    I'm not holding my breath.

  • Comment number 2.

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

  • Comment number 3.

    Is someone having a laugh here? Employers employ people to do a specific task during a specific period of time, the reason for this is that they require & need that task to be completed during that specific period of time, any other arrangement is charity and should be viewed as such.

  • Comment number 4.

    2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    --------------------

    Recommended

  • Comment number 5.

    1. At 09:23am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:

    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing.

    Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???

    I'm not holding my breath.


    Wasn't the Equality Act a piece of Labour legislation?

  • Comment number 6.

    Wow, the UK becomes fairer and more equable because I can go to a tribnal and get trashed by a better lawyer than I can afford...

    Pull the other one Theresa...

  • Comment number 7.

    This new legislation will have exactly the opposite effect. An employer will make sure that he can justify selection of choices. Fast tracking by selective training and opportunity, a perennial favourite of the civil and public services. That is why promotion from within is justifiable. So, this legislation will only apply to the private sector.

  • Comment number 8.

    I thought we already had plenty of legislation out-lawing discrimination.

    Perhaps some people are confusing "getting favourable treatment" with "being treated equally". On the other hand, maybe firms can pay lip-service to the existing legislation and still continue to discriminate as they see fit.

    Either way, more legislation isn't always (ever?) the answer. Remember the law making use of hand-held mobile phones while driving illegal? That cured a problem, didn't it....!

  • Comment number 9.

    Equality on the basis of giving others an advantage (by having specific legislation for people who are being "disadvantaged") is not equality. Would it be equal if someone who didn't need the money took a paid job off someone better experienced because they were "bored at home"? The legislation probably does nothing to differentiate.

  • Comment number 10.

    No amount of legislation will root out unfairness at the end of the day. There is always the 'if your face does not fit' that's it.

  • Comment number 11.

    3. At 09:32am on 01 Oct 2010, Syni_cal wrote:
    Is someone having a laugh here? Employers employ people to do a specific task during a specific period of time, the reason for this is that they require & need that task to be completed during that specific period of time, any other arrangement is charity and should be viewed as such.


    Actually very few employers that wish to remain in business do that. They need a workforce that can do the work the business needs for the long term so are looking for transferable skill, loyalty, flexibility etc as hiring people to do a "specific task" means they could be lumbered with employees who cannot do other tasks the company needs when it no longer has a need for that "specific task" any more. Businesses hire contract staff for "specfic tasks" for "specific periods" but it employs permanent staff for other purposes. Once it has done that it is usually better for the business to keep staff it has trained and invested in and getting rid of theme because they have needs to care for others acts against that.

  • Comment number 12.

    "Is Britain a more equal society?" is quite a different question to "Is equality improving in the workplace?"

    The answer to the first, with our ridiculous and ever growing gap between the haves and have nots, coupled with what I understand to be the lowest social mobility in europe, is a most emphatic NO.

    The answer to the second I don't know.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    The BMA is worried that the new back door policies by the con/dems is going to undermine the NHS, The minimum wage rises by just 13 pence an hour, The police recruits are being asked to work for free and you ask Is Britain now a more Eoual Society.
    Are you lot real can I get a job inventing irrelavent questions while the country implodes. Do you read newspaper or watch telivision news progs.
    Priorotise please most important questions first
    I can imagine you first question on October the 20th thats the spending review day by the way. Your question, is the tube strike right what are your feelings ..........Geeez

  • Comment number 15.

    I thought we already had this legislation.

    Knownought

  • Comment number 16.

    It seems to me that anyone with any form of vulnerability who doesn't get a job can claim discrimination when the fact may be that the person who did get the job was the better candidate. Will this mean vulnerable candidates are more likely to be successful in case they claim discrimination? Will employers now have to defend even more compensation claims at tribunals?

  • Comment number 17.

    Is Britain now a more equal society?

    Yes, of course it is, if you look where this country was just 100 years ago with regards to issues such as women not having the vote, homosexuality being illegal and it being perfectly acceptable to refuse someone employment or accomodation on account of their Irishness as a society we have every reason to be proud of progress.

    In fact if you look at every single factor by which societies are judged - standard of living, infant motality, adult literacy leisure time etc its pretty clear that ,recession or no recession, those of us alive in Britain today are living in a genuine Golden Age.

    Which makes it all the more suprising that so many people spend so much time and effort whinging about how horrible their life is. There is no better time in British history to be living in Britain than right now.


  • Comment number 18.

    Does this mean that the Eastern European "Car Wash Industry" located in just about every DIY and Supermarket will now employ British people, in my area every car washer is Eastern European. By the way anyone every got a receipt for having your car washed, I often wonder how much tax they pay if any.

  • Comment number 19.

    3. At 09:32am on 01 Oct 2010, Syni_cal wrote:

    Is someone having a laugh here? Employers employ people to do a specific task during a specific period of time, the reason for this is that they require & need that task to be completed during that specific period of time, any other arrangement is charity and should be viewed as such.

    = = = = = = =

    No - they are trying to make a particular job have the same conditions and pay for all workers irrespective of sex - age etc.

    At the moment women generally get less pay for the SAME work - The only jobs that normally have statutory equal pay are teachers and nurses etc.

    But this legislation will not work because it is not completely open.

  • Comment number 20.

    2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    = = = = = = =

    You mean like Education??

    Give all the advantages to the rich - reduce the opportunities to the poor??

  • Comment number 21.

    Has the current government had time to bring this piece of legislation in from scratch....or is the enactment of one of Hattie Harman's bright ideas left over from the last government?

  • Comment number 22.

    We're going to slip into a more and more unequal society where the rich get even richer and the middle classes down continue to suffer (something which Labour failed to address and which the current govt looks set to exarcebate).

    In terms of workplace discrimination, yes, I've been the victim of sexual discrimination (I'm male!) and age discrimination (I'm not yet 30), but my problems aren't the sort that the media needs to focus on. Nor should they be; there are people out there with far worse problems.

  • Comment number 23.

    As someone with a long term mental health problem the number of times a potential employer has said to me we would employ you because you probably are the right person for the job but... they then go on to list the pitfalls as they see it of employing someone like me that are based on there perception of mental illness you find in the media rather than the abilities of person at the interview. I sometimes wonder if BBC journalists and the way mental health and disability is reported in the media more responsible for high unemployment of disabled people than the employers.

  • Comment number 24.

    There are so many quotes that can be used. My favourite one, taken out of context but still appropriate, is:

    "All animals are created equal, but some are created more equal than others."

    Instead of celebrating our diversity and accepting that each member of a team has different strengths to offer we will now have to ensure that there is no perception that one member is being treated more equally than another in any aspect of their work ability.

    To drag out the old, worn argument, I am a middle-aged white heterosexual married man witho no obvious physical or mental issues. My perception of this legislation is that I am discriminated against at every turn simply because I am on the wrong side of each piece of the lagislation. I understand its purpose, but its very inclusiveness is exclusive of me.

  • Comment number 25.

    It's the next step to the thought police. This is not about rights it is another example of what we call the "Nanny State" interfering and controlling. These socialist EU policies were decided when the world economy was looking good and countries like Ireland, with their massive "rights" chips on their shoulders, had pull and influence. Now they and us are broke and it is against the law for employers to ask prospective employees simple questions like "are you likely to last your first week before snuffing it?" or "how many legs/hands/feet/heads/infectious deseases do you have?".

    Don't be caught out telling any jokes in the office as you will probably offend anyone listening and above all don't tell any that start "there was an Englishman, and Irishman and a Scotsman..." as you will offend the aforementioned and any gay, muslim, womens rights, anti-abortionist or sun worshiper within hearing distance for excluding them. You have been warned - switch off the telescreen first.

  • Comment number 26.

    I don't see what the question has to do with the article. The legislation only covers the workplace, something that doesn't really concern most of the people most mired in inequality.

  • Comment number 27.

    with regard to equal pay, employers will still hide behind something to pay people differently. For example years of service, whilst fair to those who earn the service by staying in a job is unfair to those who do the same job or are more qualified. Two people doing the same job can be paid differently based on years of service not quality of work or experience/qualifications. The new person will never catch up regardless of how well they do their job.
    I suspect similar hide behinds could be found for other things
    How do you make this fair

  • Comment number 28.

    Is Britain now a more equal society?
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

  • Comment number 29.

    25. At 10:10am on 01 Oct 2010, Graham wrote:

    Don't be caught out telling any jokes in the office as you will probably offend anyone listening and above all don't tell any that start "there was an Englishman, and Irishman and a Scotsman..." as you will offend the aforementioned and any gay, muslim, womens rights, anti-abortionist or sun worshiper within hearing distance for excluding them. You have been warned - switch off the telescreen first.

    ----

    Glad i don't work where you are -must be the most joyless workplace in Britain.

    I'd tell you the joke a muslim colleague shared with the office the other day - but it would never get past the moderators...

  • Comment number 30.

    Ever since the story about a job advertisment looking for "reliable" people was rejected for discriminating agains unreliable people, I have lost all faith in this country and its drive towards "equality"

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/8483171.stm

    I am nearly 30 and so have been in the world of work for about 12 years. In that time I have not noticed and great changes in equality, but neither have I noticed any particular inequalities to be rectified.

  • Comment number 31.

    All people are not equal. Inequality exists. Full stop. Sadly, equality runs like a bindweed, strangling common sense. Officialdom, reinforced by this law, tower over us, directing us to observe equality codes. Everything and everyone has to comply with equality edicts. According to the political elite, there WILL be equality, even if the majority can see that it is not wholly practicable. Yet, in spite of all this, equality has not achieved its aims. Social mobility is declining. The wealth divide is broadening. 'Equality', like too many toys on Christmas morning, sounds good and comes with glitzy packaging,but as any employer will tell you does not work. At the very time we are wanting the private sector to expand and create jobs to replace those lost by the public sector, we place leglslation such as this as an obstacle to doing so. Who would be a private employer in Britain? Certainly not me. This is madness.

  • Comment number 32.

    "Equality in the workplace?????? employers only want the best workers at the cheapest rates, they dont care about anything else, thats the bottom line. What will this new law will do? is make it legal, so no comebacks for the employers'

  • Comment number 33.

    Our "Upper House" contains 775 titled gentry.

    Equality my backside!

  • Comment number 34.

    5. At 09:38am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    1. At 09:23am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:

    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing.

    Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???

    I'm not holding my breath.
    ----------------------------------------------

    Wasn't the Equality Act a piece of Labour legislation?

    = = = = = ==

    The Labour Party included a commitment to an Equality Bill in its 2005 election manifesto. The Discrimination Law Review was established in 2005 to develop the legislation and was led by the Government Equalities Office. The review considered the findings of the Equalities Review Panel, chaired by Trevor Phillips, which reported in February 2007.[2] The Bill is intended to simplify the law by bringing together existing anti-discrimination legislation. The Equality Act 2010, when in force, will therefore replace the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003[3] and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

    So in effect this Equalities Act is the Labour one - but as far as I'm concerned the WAY it is applied will be far different when applied by CONDEMS.

  • Comment number 35.

    Equality Law is a waste of space because employers have a way to bypass it. When there is a job vacancy, they define unmeasurable "core competencies", ask unmeasurable woolly questions at the interview, and then select the person whose face fits best.

  • Comment number 36.

    Of course Britain is a more equal society. If you compare the situation with 100 years ago, 50 years ago or even 10 years ago there definitely is more equality.
    You will never get full equality as people are prejudice, but things are definitely better for all minorities. Women do have the opportunity to get to the top of a business if they wish, and there are plenty of examples where they have. Homosexuals are not discriminated against, indeed in some fields it seems to actually help.
    There is still some discrimination, but it is hidden a lot more to avoid possible legal action. I definitely feel there is discrimination against older workers for example.

  • Comment number 37.

    NO

  • Comment number 38.

    1. At 09:23am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing.

    Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???

    I'm not holding my breath.
    ----------------------------
    You really are so out of touch
    The legislation was among the last laws passed by the Labour government and was championed by Labour's deputy leader Ms Harman.
    Would you have been so condemning if Labour had won the election and brought in this Act?
    Stop blaming this government for everything they have only been in a few months, Labour had 13 years and all they did was destroy the country and nanny everyone!


  • Comment number 39.

    What a load of nonsense. Mind you, its not as much nonsense as the billions wasted by Labour trying to make people more 'equal.' During the 13 years they were in power the gap between rich and poor widened even more. In any society there will be poor people who are, to steal from Orwell 'more unequal than others.' Why don't we get used to it and give people the opportunity to succeed through their own hard work rather than throw money at it and create farcical laws? Remember grammar schools? They were a good idea. Whatever happened to them? Wasn't anything to do with another Labour social engineering project that cost billions and ended in disaster was it? On the other hand I can't think of anything postitive Labour have achieved - ever.

  • Comment number 40.

    I think this is just a farce. If an employer chooses not to employ someone they should not have to jump through hoops to justify their decision. If I was an employer I would not employ any women of child bearing age and before giving a person a job I would perform a thorough investigation into the persons background in every respect.

  • Comment number 41.

    19. At 10:05am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    3. At 09:32am on 01 Oct 2010, Syni_cal wrote:

    Is someone having a laugh here? Employers employ people to do a specific task during a specific period of time, the reason for this is that they require & need that task to be completed during that specific period of time, any other arrangement is charity and should be viewed as such.

    = = = = = = =

    No - they are trying to make a particular job have the same conditions and pay for all workers irrespective of sex - age etc.

    At the moment women generally get less pay for the SAME work - The only jobs that normally have statutory equal pay are teachers and nurses etc.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Erm, no they don't. That's illegal. And has been for ages.

    Women earn less than men ON AVERAGE, but that's mainly due to them being in worse paid jobs and doing part-time work. (eg. most CEOS are men, most admin are women)

  • Comment number 42.

    29. At 10:22am on 01 Oct 2010, Horse wrote:
    25. At 10:10am on 01 Oct 2010, Graham wrote:

    Don't be caught out telling any jokes in the office as you will probably offend anyone listening and above all don't tell any that start "there was an Englishman, and Irishman and a Scotsman..." as you will offend the aforementioned and any gay, muslim, womens rights, anti-abortionist or sun worshiper within hearing distance for excluding them. You have been warned - switch off the telescreen first.

    ----

    Glad i don't work where you are -must be the most joyless workplace in Britain.

    I'd tell you the joke a muslim colleague shared with the office the other day - but it would never get past the moderators...


    -------------------------

    Well "horse" why the long face? That "crease" you does it? What body part is amputated or fundamental right is withheld in your colleague's joke?

    Why are you telling jokes when you should be working - employers have rights too.

  • Comment number 43.

    27. At 10:18am on 01 Oct 2010, spellbindingjussie wrote:
    with regard to equal pay, employers will still hide behind something to pay people differently. For example years of service, whilst fair to those who earn the service by staying in a job is unfair to those who do the same job or are more qualified. Two people doing the same job can be paid differently based on years of service not quality of work or experience/qualifications
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    Again, the only job where you are allowed to pay people more due to years of service is teaching. Otherwise it's age discrimination. Younger people can't have been in a job as long as older people (in theory).

    Sorry to burst your bubble

  • Comment number 44.

    19. At 10:05am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    3. At 09:32am on 01 Oct 2010, Syni_cal wrote:

    Is someone having a laugh here? Employers employ people to do a specific task during a specific period of time, the reason for this is that they require & need that task to be completed during that specific period of time, any other arrangement is charity and should be viewed as such.

    = = = = = = =

    No - they are trying to make a particular job have the same conditions and pay for all workers irrespective of sex - age etc.

    At the moment women generally get less pay for the SAME work - The only jobs that normally have statutory equal pay are teachers and nurses etc.

    But this legislation will not work because it is not completely open.

    ---------------------------------------

    I've always thought that just because I do the same job as someones else doesn't mean that we do that job equally well. Therefore why should we get equal pay, if one does a better job either through hard work or natural talent shouldn't they get paid more for it?

  • Comment number 45.

    You can bet your bottom dollar it doesn't apply to the boardroom...

  • Comment number 46.

    What a waste of time (and tax payers money) - life isn't fair no ammount of legislation (presumably from the Lib dems) is going to change that.

    Can the government keep its eye on the ball and not this utopianism?

    Very reminiscent of Labour and we know how that ended....

  • Comment number 47.


    It is a fact of life that human beings are not equal, and that such natural differences make individuals more or less fit for certain kinds of employment.

    Not only that, but people vary in the degree to which they want to learn, develop and progress, take on new tasks and be supportive of colleagues and management.

    People also vary considerably in their resistance to and tolerance of normal workplace banter and what they regard as 'offence'.

    The difficulty is going to be finding an appropriate level of robustness in line management terms and in setting the threshold for a legitimate complaint.

    The 'third party' aspect (being offended or feeling discrimninated against on behalf of someone else) is going to be a nightmare to implement, and setting the bar at that level of offence that the alleged victim themselves perceives, may open the floodgates to malicious complaints. There has to be some kind of objective assessment.

    In high pressure environments, people often use a range of strategies to help relieve stress, including robust exchanges of ribald comments, practical jokes etc. People who have worked together for a very long time and have formed a very close bond, may also use forms of language with each other that an outsider would regard as deeply offensive, but it is not meant in that way.

    The simple rule is to behave towards others as you would wish them to behave towards you. But in the workplace, there must be freedom to constructively criticise poor standards or to reward commitment and enthusiasm within an appropriate line management structure, without the fear of knee-jerk claims of discrimination.

  • Comment number 48.

    Will somebody be telling Ed Miliband that his plan to impose all-women shortlists on us for MPs will now be illegal?
    Or will the ruling elites add clever exemption clauses to legislation that will only apply to them while the rest of us can lump it?

  • Comment number 49.

    So a pregnant woman can apply for a job that involves heavy lifting, if she was passed over because of her pregnancy she can sue the employer. On the other hand if the employer has to take her on because it was against equality laws not to and she injures herself because of her condition and loss her baby she can sue her employer for giving her the job. Whats next? You cant discriminate against unqualified candidates?

  • Comment number 50.

    I suppose equality for women has been achieved and feminists must pride themselves on having the Ladies and Gents signs on toilets replacerd by signs representing men and women. Apart from that feminists have rallied around in defence of freedom to wear burkas, achieving little else.

    In employment - I speak for what is near me - equality has been awarded to badly educated immigrants who lack managerial skills but are nevertheless promoted to positions of authority.

    The multicultural experiment has promoted inequality both nationally and within our communities and destroyed any hope of a multi-racial society based on principles of equality.

    As for political equality we have a professional political elite.

    But I assume this discussion is about equal pay, so I will leave that to the experts.

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course Britain is't equal.

    Equality will become less and less apparent over the next 12 months.

  • Comment number 52.

    Its a funny little puzzle folks.....it appears the more legislation is introduced to enforce 'equality' the more unequal our society becomes!

    How can that be so? How can 'equality' in theory translate into inequality in practice.......its very odd and strange!

    We have a more unequal society, less social mobility, a wider gap between rich and poor, a general decline in equality of outcomes, while championing equality of opportunity and legalised prohibition of inequality!

    Maybe such legislation fails to work in a society constituted on nepotism, cronysim, incompetence, moral bankruptcy and corruption - or maybe such legislation merely ensures folk are more risk averse?

    This must represent the 'law' of unintended consequences me thinks! ;-)

  • Comment number 53.

    Yes, Britain is an equal society and we should be proud of it.

    Would you rather regress back to the old days where racism, homophobia and women being nothing but home carers were rife? I wouldn't.

    Mind you I do agree that this equal opportunity policies have gone way over the top and does need some moderation. I had a job interview at a London hospital last week, and when being shown around the place, nurses were European, and in the resting lounge there was not a single caucasian person amongst the crowd of about a dozen doctors resting of getting a quite coffee - mostly blacks and Muslums. Being Indian myself, I do feel that perhaps caucasians might suffer abit from this OTT political correctness. It should be modified so that there ARE equal opportunities out there but not going overboard.

  • Comment number 54.

    Is Britain now a more equal society?

    No

    For the past 30 years Britain has become more and more unequal

    The gap between the “Haves” and the “Have-not’s” continues to grow

    Until that gap is closed, the tinkering around the edges approach will not make any difference


  • Comment number 55.

    I think some people are misinterpreting the legislation.

    It is simply to ensure for those in the same job are not discriminated against by age, sex, disability and pay.

    Many jobs in the private sector still pay women less than men - or still employ the young irrespective of the fact an older person can do the job as well.(one reason for those over 55 find it so hard to find a new job)

    My problem is the legislation is still not open enough.

  • Comment number 56.

    (Employer): "You are over-qualified" (Sorry buddy, too old/wrong colour/wrong gender/too fat and that equals lazy, right?).
    (Employee): "I left my old job seeking new challenges" (My previous boss was a dork).
    (Employer): "We need you to be flexible" (We'll move the goalposts once you are in so that you take on ever more responsibility but you needn't expect any pay increase).
    (Employee):"I've always wanted to be a roadsweeper/dustman/toilet attendent/shop assistant/shelf-stacker". (If I wasn't desperate I wouldn't be here. You know it and I know it so why the pretence at anything else?).

    Twas ever thus and so it will remain, and no amount of gesture politics will ever change that.

  • Comment number 57.

    "At the moment women generally get less pay for the SAME work - The only jobs that normally have statutory equal pay are teachers and nurses etc.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Erm, no they don't. That's illegal. And has been for ages."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Not strictly true. In fact, not at all true.

    True, an employer cannot advertise a role as having a dual-pay scale where men will automatically earn more than women, that would indeed be illegal. Of course, get beyond the first few tiers of any organisation and your pay is often up for debate and negotiation. I seem to remember reading a news story that said that, in those circumstances, men are more effective at negotiating higher pay than women, meaning that men and women can often find themselves in the same role but with unequal pay due to the outcome of their negotiations.

    But yes, it is illegal for women to be paid less than a man in a job with a contracted, standardised pay agreement.

  • Comment number 58.

    Yes, it's equal. But some people are more equal than others...

  • Comment number 59.

    Well lets have a look-see shall we...he-he

    David Cameron-oxford university
    Nick Clegg-Cambridge university
    William Hague-oxford university
    George Osborne-oxford university
    Kenneth Clarke-Cambridge university
    Theresa May-oxford university
    Liam Fox-Glasgow university --DIVERSITY!!
    Vince Cable-Cambridge university
    Iain Duncan Smith-University of life --DIVERSITY!!
    Chris Huhne-oxford university

    Looks pretty fair to me.

    Go to the right university...and you'll be fine!

  • Comment number 60.

    >> 2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    >>The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    I'm guessing that viewpoint depends on whether you were "more equal" or "less equal" before the change. ;-)

    I think most people would agree with the idea of a meritocracy, it's just whether the state needs to intervene in the market to ensure it that I think opinions would differ on.

  • Comment number 61.

    Baroness Warsi was on Newsnight recently and, despite repeated questioning, wouldn't say that 'religous' groups shouldn't have the right to deny gays employment opportunities.

    So there is still a way to go with some people!

  • Comment number 62.

    I noticed on the TV last night that Hallal meat has to be killed by a Mulsim. All the food retailers are using Hallal meat now so does this mean that they are descriminating against Christian, Hindu and any other religious or non-religious abatoir worker. Can I take the abatoirs and supermarket chains to court, given that I use their products, as a third-party complainer that is offended by their treatment? Probably not as the act only applies to non-white, females, homosexuals, the disaffected, muslim and the un-fit.

  • Comment number 63.

    Britain is more fairer than it has ever been, but it still has a very long way to go until it can claim to be equal or fair. I dont see society bocoming any more fairer or equal under the present government, divisions between the rich and poor will continue to grow, as they (the condems) cut away at our society.

  • Comment number 64.

    If the Business management organisations (those of the minimum wage will cost a million jobs etc )Think it a bad idea it probably isn't!

  • Comment number 65.

    The whole point boils down to equality not equalling fairness. Equality is positively unfair, because it means that no one is being treated as the individual with strengths, weaknesses and abilities that they are, just as a collection as boxes to be ticked to ensure every department has the correct quota of ethnicities.

    Fairness means that nothing that has no bearing on the position at hand should stand in the way of applying and getting the role in question. This could very easily result in an entire department full of excellent, capable single white men and just as easily result in a department full of excellent, capable, black muslim lesbians. Enforced equality would mean that we would have to have certain amounts of each demographic which would send possibly better candidates out the door.

    'Equality' is a nonsense idea that can only harm the very goal it strives to achieve. Fairness is a much better idea, as it means everyone can reach their potential without feeling like they've only got/lost their job because of their skin colour.

  • Comment number 66.

    "Is Britain a more equal society?" Compared to what? France? the Moon? Britain last week? 500 years ago? Also, you can't be 'more equal' (despite what George Orwell says), something is either equal or it isn't.

    This makes aobut as much sense as asking "is Henry VII more dead?"

  • Comment number 67.

    Is Britain now a more equal society.
    New rules aimed at banning discrimination by employers, covering areas such as age, disability and pay, have come into force. Will these rules make Britain fairer?

    Of course it won't, discrimination on age and pay will still continue as it has for years.

    As regards Britian being a more equal society, that depends on which side of the Rich / Poor demarcation line you are on.

    The rich will still be on the 'more equal' side - untouched by cutbacks or the supposed closing of tax loopholes - read about 'Lord Ashcroft's billions and how he has avoided paying tax' - a real eye opener.

    Whereas the poorer members of society will be the ones to foot the bill and the brunt of 90% of the cutbacks.

    But we shall see who fares better after January when VAT becomes 20% and all the prices go up on drink and fuel as well, I have a fair idea who will be worse off out of the two, it certainly won't be any of the banks or financial institutions - the very organisations who caused the collapse of the pound, not help by 'Brown the monetry clown'.

    The Elite at the top will still be riding 'Thatchers Chariots of Greed' and robbing the less well off to keep them in the unafordable lifestyles to which they have become accustomed.

    But, who knows, perhaps there is a very remote chance, about 1 in 1000,000,000,000,000 chance that I could be wrong!

  • Comment number 68.

    55. At 10:53am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    I think some people are misinterpreting the legislation.

    It is simply to ensure for those in the same job are not discriminated against by age, sex, disability and pay.

    Many jobs in the private sector still pay women less than men - or still employ the young irrespective of the fact an older person can do the job as well.(one reason for those over 55 find it so hard to find a new job)

    My problem is the legislation is still not open enough.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The private sector maybe less accountable to PC legislation but it is not necessary discriminate against womens pay rather they will pay more to staffs who can provide better returns. Fact that on average woman
    paid less has more to do with them not delivering as well as the average man. This could be career breaks to have kids, home commitement experience, working in unsociable hours, time served in the company, etc.

  • Comment number 69.

    How about the recent labour leadership election?

    Ed Miliband -oxford
    David Miliband- oxford
    Ed Balls -oxford
    Andy Burnham -cambridge
    Diane Abbott -cambridge

    Equal society?...It's all looking awfully tribal and incestuous to me...

  • Comment number 70.

    38. At 10:34am on 01 Oct 2010, ELENAKL wrote:

    1. At 09:23am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing.

    Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???

    I'm not holding my breath.
    ----------------------------
    You really are so out of touch
    The legislation was among the last laws passed by the Labour government and was championed by Labour's deputy leader Ms Harman.
    Would you have been so condemning if Labour had won the election and brought in this Act?
    Stop blaming this government for everything they have only been in a few months, Labour had 13 years and all they did was destroy the country and nanny everyone!

    = = = = = = =

    Actually if you check Labour did an enormous amount of good - It was the Benkers that "destroyed" the country not Labour. Because of the Thatcher deregulation of banks and rent - selling assets etc etc. Labour spent 13 years trying to redress the Tory Devastation.

    So far I have not seen anything that the CONDEMS have actually done - except decide all recent positive things are only due by THEIR action whereas it was due to Labour action a few months ago.

    The difference is I trusted the Labour Government - I do not trust the CONDEMS particularly Clegg. So I would have had a more positive attitude to the Legislation under Labour - As I had watched with pleasure the inequalities of Toryism slowly being redressed under Labour - Especially in State Education and NHS - both seriously badly affected by Toryism.

    As I said "Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???"

    Because I don't think they will be - which is why I vote Labour.

  • Comment number 71.

    42. At 10:36am on 01 Oct 2010, Graham wrote:

    Why are you telling jokes when you should be working - employers have rights too.

    -----
    Because its what people in pretty much every workplace in the country do to get through the day?

    Seriously - your employer has really banned all humour in the workplace?

    I'm not even sure thats legal.

    you really do work in a joyless hell hole.

    How do you get through the day with no black humour?

  • Comment number 72.

    "1. At 09:23am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing."

    Ah yes, the Equality Act. This bit of "CONDEM window dresing" which was published as a Bill on 27 April 2009 and became an Act of Parliament on 8 April 2010.

    While Labour were in office. The pet project of Harriet Harman*. Who if I remember correctly was a Labour Cabinet Minister.

    Richard, ever wondered whether your political bias causes you to make hasty, uninformed judgements that might make you look a bit stupid?



    *The is of course the same Harriet Harman who is so in favour of equality that she insists on 'all female' short lists for safe Labour seats. Unless her husband Jack Dromey is up for a safe Labour seat when the criteria becomes an "all husband of a Cabinet Minister" shortlist.

  • Comment number 73.

    62. At 10:58am on 01 Oct 2010, Graham wrote:
    I noticed on the TV last night that Hallal meat has to be killed by a Mulsim. All the food retailers are using Hallal meat now so does this mean that they are descriminating against Christian, Hindu and any other religious or non-religious abatoir worker.
    ---

    Thats not the worst of it - every time you unknowingly eat halal meat you become a little bit more muslim, until one day you get the uncontrollsble urge to convert.

    At least I assume thats what all the fuss is about...

  • Comment number 74.

    What about the job of Head of State? If the government are truly interested in equality then why not start at the top?

    Limiting candidates to a few members of one family is hardly likely (in Ms May's own words) "to make the most of all the talent available,"

  • Comment number 75.

    20. At 10:07am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:

    2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    = = = = = = =

    You mean like Education??

    Give all the advantages to the rich - reduce the opportunities to the poor??


    People with money will always have an advantage over people who don't however that doesn't mean you have to reduce the opportunities to the poorer people in our society.

  • Comment number 76.

    Well noted in Post nunber 61.
    At 10:58am on 01 Oct 2010, naigib wrote:
    Baroness Warsi was on Newsnight recently and, despite repeated questioning, wouldn't say that 'religous' groups shouldn't have the right to deny gays employment opportunities.

    So there is still a way to go with some people!

    Of course she wouldnt say - she is a muslim i.e. part of the most unequal (pandered to and appeased) group in UK society.

  • Comment number 77.

    Fairer for whom?

    An employer wants a job done... an employee wants to be able to manage all the pressures on their life and still earn their wage.

    Will this latest raft of legislation actually help either party accomplish their goals?

    With good employers and honest hard-working employees, it will make no difference because they are already doing their best to be 'fair' to each other.

    With poor employers and employees who take advantage, it will probably not do much good either. Trumped-up redundancies and fake disciplinary action will vie with false allegations of 'discrimination' at the drop of a hat, and both sides will lose out.

    Trouble is, even good employers will be leery of employing anyone who might have problems, in case they turn out to be the 'take advantage' sort of worker, rather than the 'honest hard-working' sort. And bad employers will still find ways to take advantage of those who just seek to earn their living as best they can.

  • Comment number 78.

    21. At 10:07am on 01 Oct 2010, Virtualvalkyrie wrote:

    Has the current government had time to bring this piece of legislation in from scratch....or is the enactment of one of Hattie Harman's bright ideas left over from the last government?


    The Equality Bill was passed in April 2010 so this is definitely Labour government legislation.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_Act_2010

  • Comment number 79.

    42 "and above all don't tell any that start "there was an Englishman, and Irishman and a Scotsman..."

    An Englishman and Irishman and a Scotsman walk into a pub.

    The barman looks at them and says "is this a joke?"

  • Comment number 80.

    So the tories are trying claim the credit for the fact that we live in a fairer society, they have only been in government for about 3 months.

    The fact is we are a fairer society because of the Labour Party, NOT the tories.

  • Comment number 81.

    Oh, and if everyone is supposed to have an equal chance, why does every application form I fill out ask me about trivia such as my 'ethnicity' (which boils down to, what colour is my hide?) and marital status and religion. I've even been asked by some for my sexual preference!

    For the record: My 'ethnicity' is human, my marital status is 'not available, I have someone' and my sexual preference will only become your business if I fancy you :)

  • Comment number 82.

    HYS - "Is Britain now a more equal society?"

    This latest piece of Legislation is fine. But I'd want to make SURE that 'equal pay' REALLY means for EQUAL work - IE: both mentally AND physically 'equal'...

    in my OVERALL opinion as to: 'Is Britain now a more equal society?', I'd say that in most cases it is NOT.
    Labour - with the help of PC 'dreamers' - generally made it disgracefully UNEQUAL in many areas - so that minority & HR groups - were allowed GREATER 'rights' than the ordinary majority of people.

    I hope Theresa May rethinks the WHOLE fiasco that is the 'Equal Rights' legislation - and strip it back to pure common-sense and plain fairness - instead of the Dogma-ridden, Politically-gainful 'Trojan-horse' that Labour used it as...

  • Comment number 83.

    I love equality laws, especially when it comes to filling in job applications:

    "We are an equal opportunity employer, so please tell us if you're gay/straight, male/female, disabled, married/single, muslim/christian/atheist, white/black/asian"

    Brilliant.

    So if you're equal opportunity, then you don't need to know these things, unless you need to get the "divorced black lesbian in a wheelchair" box ticked.

  • Comment number 84.

    60. At 10:57am on 01 Oct 2010, RoyaltyinTheChampionship wrote:

    >> 2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:
    >>The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    I'm guessing that viewpoint depends on whether you were "more equal" or "less equal" before the change. ;-)

    I think most people would agree with the idea of a meritocracy, it's just whether the state needs to intervene in the market to ensure it that I think opinions would differ on.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Precisely.

    Meritocracy is meaningless without recognition that we do not start from a level playing field.

  • Comment number 85.

    Knurf.

  • Comment number 86.

    33. At 10:31am on 01 Oct 2010, chiptheduck wrote:

    Our "Upper House" contains 775 titled gentry.

    Equality my backside!


    Lord Prescott.

  • Comment number 87.

    To drag out the old, worn argument, I am a middle-aged white heterosexual married man witho no obvious physical or mental issues. My perception of this legislation is that I am discriminated against at every turn simply because I am on the wrong side of each piece of the lagislation. I understand its purpose, but its very inclusiveness is exclusive of me.

    How so? The purpose of this legislation is to ensure that other groups do not get treated any worse than you. Whilst that may mean you (and I) lose a perceived or real advantage over other groups you can hardly calim you are discriminated against. It does not give these groups an advantage over you. If it did, then you would have a legitimate claim of discrimination.

  • Comment number 88.

    "I seem to remember reading a news story that said that, in those circumstances, men are more effective at negotiating higher pay than women, meaning that men and women can often find themselves in the same role but with unequal pay due to the outcome of their negotiations."

    Hmmm....I've read similar stories. One that employees who are better at their jobs get more pay, another that employers are not stupid and know that if they pay someone less than they are worth, they risk losing them. Yet another story I read said that there are more women in the UK than men, that there is nothing to stop women starting their own businesses and that (obviously) more than half the customers and for that matter half the voters in the UK are women.

    Then I read that it was all a massive conspiracy by men to somehow keep women 'in their place' and there's been nothing over the last few decades that anyone can do about it.

    I never know which stories to believe.

  • Comment number 89.

    The Labour Party included a commitment to an Equality Bill in its 2005 election manifesto. The Discrimination Law Review was established in 2005 to develop the legislation and was led by the Government Equalities Office. The review considered the findings of the Equalities Review Panel, chaired by Trevor Phillips, which reported in February 2007.[2] The Bill is intended to simplify the law by bringing together existing anti-discrimination legislation. The Equality Act 2010, when in force, will therefore replace the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003[3] and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

    So in effect this Equalities Act is the Labour one - but as far as I'm concerned the WAY it is applied will be far different when applied by CONDEMS.


    In case you didn't know, we have an independent judiciary in this country so it will judge according to the law as enacted by Labour. It is not "applied by CONDEMS". Should they not like the way it is applied they may well bring legislation to modify or repeal this act, but they cannot interfere with the way it is applied. They may choose to ignore it when applying it to government employees, but would then face possible legal action if it did.

  • Comment number 90.

    20. At 10:07am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:
    2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    = = = = = = =

    You mean like Education??

    Give all the advantages to the rich - reduce the opportunities to the poor??

    ///

    That statement by Magi looks very clever and all that, but if you analyse it and understand it, it actually means nothing. I wouldn't be surprised if some dim politician started using it soon, it's exactly the kind of rubbish they love.

  • Comment number 91.

    83. At 11:21am on 01 Oct 2010, Richard Sweeney wrote:
    I love equality laws, especially when it comes to filling in job applications:

    "We are an equal opportunity employer, so please tell us if you're gay/straight, male/female, disabled, married/single, muslim/christian/atheist, white/black/asian"
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I asked about this at uni.

    Apparently, that info it to ensure that the job is being advertised to people of all ethnicities/genders/whatever.

    People need to have the same opportunity to apply for a job (ie advertising only in a chgurch or mens toliet aint ok!) so it's just to check they are interviewing.receiveing appliactions from a cross section of society.

    Incidentally, did you know that Chinese restaurants can insist their front of house staff look chinese, but not their kitchen staff and not that they ARE chinese either.

  • Comment number 92.

    75. At 11:17am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    "People with money will always have an advantage over people who don't however that doesn't mean you have to reduce the opportunities to the poorer people in our society."

    I realise defending privilege is tricky, but that statement makes no sense. How could having an advantage not lead to reduced opportunities for others? You can't have the first without the second.

  • Comment number 93.

    It seems that several posts are confusing equality with identity. Equality is a moral concept whereas identity is empirical. Men and women are not identical, but in a moral sense they are equal. That is, they should have an equal right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Equal access to education does not mean that everyone should attend the same school. Aristotle once said that to treat people equally we must recognise that they are different. Hence equal access to health care does not mean that infants must have the same medication as adults or that men should be entitled to screening for ovarian cancer.

    A simple distinction, lost on so many feminists who argue as if men and women are indentical, and the politically correct who insist that every living being on the planet is identical.

  • Comment number 94.

    34. At 10:31am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:

    5. At 09:38am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    1. At 09:23am on 01 Oct 2010, RichardGrey wrote:

    Absolutely NOT - it does not make it mandatory for equality - only advises - so people will still be treated unequally - it is yet another piece of CONDEM window dressing.

    Lets see how the cuts are applied equally shall we???

    I'm not holding my breath.
    ----------------------------------------------

    Wasn't the Equality Act a piece of Labour legislation?

    = = = = = ==

    The Labour Party included a commitment to an Equality Bill in its 2005 election manifesto. The Discrimination Law Review was established in 2005 to develop the legislation and was led by the Government Equalities Office. The review considered the findings of the Equalities Review Panel, chaired by Trevor Phillips, which reported in February 2007.[2] The Bill is intended to simplify the law by bringing together existing anti-discrimination legislation. The Equality Act 2010, when in force, will therefore replace the Equal Pay Act 1970, Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976, Disability Discrimination Act 1995, Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003[3] and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006.

    So in effect this Equalities Act is the Labour one - but as far as I'm concerned the WAY it is applied will be far different when applied by CONDEMS.


    I thought that once an Act of Parliament had been passed it was then up to the judiciary to enforce it and not the government of the day.

  • Comment number 95.

    "59. At 10:57am on 01 Oct 2010, ady wrote:
    Well lets have a look-see shall we...he-he

    David Cameron-oxford university
    Nick Clegg-Cambridge university
    William Hague-oxford university
    George Osborne-oxford university
    Kenneth Clarke-Cambridge university
    Theresa May-oxford university
    Liam Fox-Glasgow university --DIVERSITY!!
    Vince Cable-Cambridge university
    Iain Duncan Smith-University of life --DIVERSITY!!
    Chris Huhne-oxford university

    Looks pretty fair to me.

    Go to the right university...and you'll be fine!"

    As this is about equality, we ought to be fair.

    Ed Miliband - Oxford University
    David Miliband - Oxford University
    Ed Balls - Oxford University
    Diane Abbott - Cambridge University
    That other bloke - Cambridge University

    So Labour cast the net far and wide in looking for a new leader.

  • Comment number 96.

    Then I read that it was all a massive conspiracy by men to somehow keep women 'in their place' and there's been nothing over the last few decades that anyone can do about it.

    I never know which stories to believe.

    ====================================================================

    I find it amazing that we men are given credit for orchestrating a worldwide campaign of oppression of women against any kind of equality or progression, but, according to any advert break I've seen recently, are mentally incapable of successfully doing the washing up and laundry without some hilarious mishap that can only be sorted out by a multi-tasking woman.

    Personally, I'm great at washing up, but terrible at worldwide conspiracies.

  • Comment number 97.

    An interesting question popped up when my wife was teaching me to speak Russian. The proper Russian word for "black person" (transliterated) is "Negr". This obviously comes from the latin word meaning "black", and is one of many derivations that have been used over the centuries to refer to those who are dark-skinned.

    If my wife, quite properly, refers to a black person in their hearing as "Negr" are they entitled to take offence and is she entitled to be offended by their offence?

    Added to this, certain areas of the country have idomatic syntax, so one person might refer to another as "duck" or "love", not through endearment but simply as a tack-on at the end of their sentence. Should this be encouraged (diversity) or abhored (sexism)?

    I long for a piece of equality legislation that is robust but allows for common-sense to prevail.

  • Comment number 98.

    48. At 10:43am on 01 Oct 2010, ScaaarBeeek wrote:

    Will somebody be telling Ed Miliband that his plan to impose all-women shortlists on us for MPs will now be illegal?
    Or will the ruling elites add clever exemption clauses to legislation that will only apply to them while the rest of us can lump it?


    The Act extends until 2030 the exemption from sex discrimination law allowing political parties to select all women or all men candidate short-lists. The existing exemption until 2015 was created by the Sex Discrimination (Election Candidates) Act 2002.

  • Comment number 99.

    4. At 09:37am on 01 Oct 2010, in_the_uk wrote:
    2. At 09:25am on 01 Oct 2010, Magi Tatcher wrote:

    The worst form of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.

    --------------------

    Recommended

    --------------------

    Double recommendation!

    The lowlife elites are unequal in morals compared to the majority.

  • Comment number 100.

    If aliens or 5th columnists want to destroy British society then they only need to infiltrate two institutions.

    Oxford University and Cambridge University.

    (I wonder what planet Ed Balls came from)

 

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