WELSH employees are far less active in challenging sex discrimination than their English counterparts, and those cases which do reach industrial tribunals are less likely to succeed, the Equal Opportunities Commission says.
Commission chair Kamlesh Bahl says lawyers in Wales could benefit from using European law to expand the scope of UK legislation.
She says: “On many indicators of equality, Wales fares particularly poorly in relation to other parts of the UK, not least in numbers of complaints of sex discrimination actually taken to the Industrial Tribunal.
“We want to ensure that knowledge about the law is widely understood and that an individual can be assured of accurate, up-to-date advice in any legal practice that they enter, in any part of the world.”
Val Field, director of EOC Wales, says Welsh cases were less likely to succeed until recently because tribunal members there have less experience in dealing with and deciding what constitutes discrimination.
“In 1992, out of 19 cases that we logged, only two were successful,” says Field. “Until recently men were more likely to succeed with claims than women.”
But success rates are improving. In 1993 two out of 12 cases were successful but by September 1994 16 cases had been logged, 11 of which succeeded.