Mind Charity: Is It Misleading Asking "Whether
Equality Act 2010 Should Be
As part of its plans to abolish red tape, the Government have asked people to comment on whether the Equality Act 2010 should be entirely scrapped. Apart from the question itself being misleading, critical comments posted on the site show that we are still a long way from creating a level playing field for people with disabilities.
The Equality Act 2010 is an essential piece of primary legislation which brings together legal duties aimed at preventing discrimination – on grounds of sex, race and disability as well as many other ‘protected characteristics’.
Some of these provisions have been part of UK law for over 40 years. As a fair society we must safeguard it to ensure equality for all. We are committed to doing so under the EU Equal Treatment Directive 2000/78 and under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The Equality Act 2010 was passed by parliament in April 2010 with extensive cross-party support, after extensive debate. In asking the question whether the Equality Act 2010 should be ‘scrapped altogether’, it is seriously misleading, as our obligations under EU and international law mean that it cannot be repealed or substantively changed in an informal way.
Happily, many people who have commented so far share our view.
However, some of the critical responses on the Government’s website show the prejudices that disabled people still face. The Equality Act 2010 attempts to take those last few steps towards a level playing field for all – like identifying occasions when positive discrimination may be appropriate – are being attacked.
But critics overlook the fundamental safeguards in the Equality Act 2010 – a man should only be appointed ahead of a woman if the woman is less well qualified, a disabled applicant should only succeed if the non-disabled candidate is not as well suited to the role.
The fact is that currently there is no level playing field, as fewer than 4 in 10 employers would take on someone with a mental health problem and 40 per cent view workers with mental ill health as a significant risk.
We are proud of the Equality Act 2010 measures to help make sure that disabled job applicants have a better chance of being selected on merit. This includes the new restrictions on the use of pre-employment health questionnaires, which were previously used to screen out people with hidden disabilities during recruitment.
Mind will fight to ensure all these crucial protections remain in place - please help us by adding your comments to the Red Tape Challenge website.
The Equality Act 2010 must stay as it is and should be regarded as a positive step in outlawing discrimination and ensuring equality for all.
To comment on Equalities at the Government’s Red Tape Challenge Website: -
To view Mind’s original article: -
To view Prime Minister David Cameron’s "Red Tape Challenge” video: -