Everyone knows that it is illegal to discriminate in the workplace, directly or indirectly, against anyone on the grounds of; age, sex, disability, religion or belief, pregnancy or maternity, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership or race. But it wasn’t always like this…
Last month people across the world remembered and celebrated the March for Jobs and Freedom in Washington DC and Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech 50 years ago. That march coincided with action in England against the council-run Bristol Omnibus Company which operated a ‘colour bar’ and a ban on ethnic minorities working on the city’s buses.
The Bristol Bus Boycott achieved a total change in policy and on the same day that Martin Luther King delivered his speech (28 August 1963), the Bristol Omnibus Company declared that there would now be “complete integration” on the buses. Within a month Bristol had its first non-white bus conductor, Raghbir Singh, an Indian-born Sikh who had lived in the city since 1959.
The victory in Bristol directly contributed to the UK’s first laws against race-based discrimination and the Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968 soon followed.
Three years ago The Equality Act 2010 replaced previous anti-discrimination laws covering race, gender and disability with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some situations. The result is that employees and agency workers now have extensive protection against discrimination.
Apart from the legal and ethical issues, it is now widely recognised that employing people from a diversity of backgrounds makes good business sense.
If you require support or advice about recruitment and employment rights call Theresa at Lawspeed on 01273 236 236 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.