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"Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake - Chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956)"

Monday, August 05, 2002

Timetable of New UK Legislation…
(I’ve spent the last few days researching upcoming UK employment law – and this is what I found)

At present in the UK you can get sacked for being gay or having HIV.

But all that is about to change.

On 29th November 2000, the European Council unanimously adopted a new Directive requiring equal treatment in employment and occupation in the areas of age, religion, disability and sexual orientation.

Some of this is already covered by existing UK legislation but the EU Directive set deadlines for the laws to be implemented in the Member States.
- Anti-discrimination on grounds of race and ethnic origin has to be law by July 2003
- The anti-religion and anti-sexual orientation law has to be on the books by 2nd December 2003.
- For the anti-age and anti-disability laws the latest date is 2nd December 2006

The anti-race law will tighten up some loop-holes in the existing Race Relations Act. Long overdue and necessary in my opinion.

It'll mean Anne Robinson can be locked up for her comments about Welsh people.

The age discrimination law will mean the total abolition of the retirement age. The law would also apply to all ages not just those over 40 as in the United States. That will mean it applies to young people too.

The biggest effect is that you can’t just dismiss someone because they are old. You would need grounds for dismissal based on conduct or performance issues.

Ninety year old air pilots anyone?

When in place this law will allow employees to take time off from work on religious grounds - for instance to pray. It may even lead to employees claiming a “moral objection” to certain types of work.

Is there a religion where God tells me to have every other Monday off?

Sexual Orientation
This legislation will finally place beyond any doubt the right of individuals not to be discriminated against on grounds of sexual orientation. Cases in recent months have reached this conclusion already. This will overturn an earlier ruling by the European Court that the same sex partners of employees were not permitted to the benefit of perks offered to the spouses of employees, such as medical insurance, travel, pensions and life assurance.

About bloody time.

Prior the anti-age and anti-disability laws coming into affect there will be an amendment tabled in October 2004. The two changes are:
1. those with cancer or HIV will be deemed disabled
2. small businesses (under 15 employees) will have their exemption removed entirely

So when the law that covers disability comes into effect (the EU say the latest is by 2nd December 2006) having HIV will officially classify you as being disabled and it will be illegal to discriminate against you in employment.

About bloody time too.

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