Clause 52

Part of Equality Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 10:30 am ar 23 Mehefin 2009.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Vera Baird Vera Baird Solicitor General, Attorney General's Office 10:30, 23 Mehefin 2009

I call this the “back to the future” provision, which will restore the position as it was. Amendments 226, 227, 228 and 229 restore the position under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995  when it comes to reasonable adjustment placed on those providing employment services and vocational services. The amendment maintains the existing protection by obliging an anticipatory duty. Disabled people wanting to avail themselves of high street employment agencies or Jobcentre Plus need to be able to access the services on offer and receive information and advice in ways that are accessible to them.

Members who in an earlier debate were keen to test the effectiveness of the reasonable adjustment provisions will be reassured that there is no erosion of existing levels in that connection. The amendment also restates the position for enforcement of the duty to make reasonable adjustments in respect of vocational services as being via the employment tribunal. I suspect that that will also meet with people’s approval because it is usually thought of as being easier than the county court.

Amendment 64 concerns clause 53, which defines what the provision of an employment service does and does not include for the purposes of clause 52, which makes it unlawful to discriminate, harass or victimise someone when using such a service. We want to omit clause 52(3), which excludes from that clause employment services provided other than by way of a trade or profession. We want to do that because it is necessary to ensure that employment services provided by volunteers are also captured by the discrimination provisions.

All together, the exceptions ensure that the Bill is consistent with the position under current law, whereby in what capacity an employment service is provided is irrelevant—the appropriate duties are still on the provider.