Discrimination at work: goodbye questionnaires, hello penalties
On 6 April, a long-standing feature of the law prohibiting discrimination at work will change, when discrimination questionnaires are ‘abolished’. Questionnaires were first introduced in 1975 under the Sex Discrimination Act. Thus for nearly 40 years they have been a thorn in the flesh or a tool in the armoury of employment disputants, depending on which side they are on. They can be a means by which employees gain from their employers access to documents, statistical data, workplace policies and procedures or information about how comparators have been paid or treated.
The measure is being introduced as part of the government’s efforts to reduce the ‘red-tape’ burden on employers and the intention is therefore, in principle at least, that employers will not have to spend time (and potentially legal fees) responding to questions imposed by employees who wish to establish whether or not they have been discriminated against. It would seem likely that the reaction of most employers to a change of that nature is likely to be positive and that the intended effect of reducing the time and effort devoted to dealing with employment disputes will be achieved…
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