Equality and Human Rights Commission opens

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (previously known as the Commission for Equality and Human Rights) opened on 1 October 2007.

It replaces the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE), the Disability Rights Commission (DRC) and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), as well as enforcing legislation protecting people from discrimination on the grounds of age, religion and belief, sexual orientation and transgender status and promoting compliance with the Human Rights Act.

Click here for the Commission’s website

House of Lords judgement on definition of a public authority

On 20 June 2007, The House of Lords handed down its judgment in the case of YL v Birmingham City Council and others which explored the definition of ‘public authority’ under section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998.

By a majority of 3 to 2. the Law Lords held that that a private care home providing accommodation to elderly residents under contract with a local authority was not itself exercising ‘functions of a public nature’ for the purposes of the Human Rights Act 1998. Consequently, the care home was not bound under section 6(1) of the HRA to act in accordance with rights protected by the European Convention on Human Rights.

Click here for judgement

Protection from age discrimination introduced

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 came into force on 1 October 2006.

The regulations outlaw age discrimination in terms of recruitment, promotion and training. They also ban unjustified retirement ages of below 65 and remove the current age limits for unfair dismissal and redundancy rights. Employees will now have the right to ask to work beyond retirement age and employers will have a duty to consider that request. The regulations do not affect the age at which people can claim their state pension.

Click here for link to regulations

Civil Partnership Act

The Civil Partnership Act came into force on 5 December 2005 and the first ceremonies took place on 21st December when 687 couples across England and Wales formed a civil partnership.

Click here for link to Act

Announcement of Equalities Review and Discrimination Law Review

On 25 February 2005 an Equalities Review to investigate the causes of persistent discrimination and inequality in British society was announced by Equality Minister Jacqui Smith and Minister for the Cabinet Office David Miliband.

At the same time it was announced that the Department of Trade and Industry will begin a Discrimination Law Review working in parallel to the Equalities Review, to assess how anti-discrimination legislation can be modernised to fit the needs of Britain in the 21st Century.

Click here for Equalities Review website