Just in case you missed it, the Budget wasn’t all about money; it also re-defined what we mean by equality.

Now equality is the state or quality of being essentially equal: of being allowed to have equal access and opportunity in society. It does not mean treating everyone the same, but allowing equal access to opportunities. This was taken forward by the Equality Act which introduced the concept of protected characteristics, rather than strands, and as people can have more than one characteristic you would have the potential for dual discrimination, that is being discriminated against on more than just one characteristic.

However, the economic climate means that if you are a micro-business or a start-up, the equality regulations that relate to dual discrimination and third party harassment as so onerous or expensive, but no-one has made the reason clear, that the rights of individuals need to be suspended for 3-years to encourage growth.

This decision creates a two-tier equality regime. You have certain rights if you work in business that employ 10 or more, you have less rights if you work for those with 9 or less. Definitely a new way of looking at equality.

For those whose companies employ 10, or just over, it might even be worthwhile ditching a few staff to escape the regulation if they are that onerous. You certainly wouldn’t want to grow beyond 9 staff either so it acts as an employment cap as well. And if you sub-contract to a micro-business and they discriminate because the regulations do not affect them, does that apply to you too, or does vicarious liability mean that you are responsible for that discrimination carried out on your behalf?

Hardly a recipe for growth.

Removing some peoples’ rights for a political expediency, or even an economic one, is not a smart move.





Jock Chalmers, Pathway Manager, UKCAE

Jock Chalmers has a public sector background spanning some 30 years with over 10 years experience of setting up and managing non-departmental public bodies. Jock has also worked closely with outsourcing and property management and development sectors. Jock is passionate about inclusion and has developed the approach that bottom-up learning, together with management focus and leadership can deliver equality in the workplace.

Jock's expertise lies in understanding management processes, change management programmes and business process re-alignment.

As the Pathway Manager of UK Council for Access and Equality (“UKCAE”), Jock has led the team that has successfully formulated the UKCAE Pathway which helps any organisation embed inclusion into the workplace. The straightforward and practical approach of the UKCAE Pathway provides many benefits to the public, providers and politicians looking for useful and practical ways to support equality. It is because of these benefits that Jock is proud to be the Pathway Manager and will be delighted to hear from you about how UKCAE can help achieve demonstrable success in this important area.