Written on Mar, 31, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

Marriage equality. The phrase conjures images of gays and lesbians marching in front of state capitols, their multi-colored flags whipping in the harsh wind of intolerance, their shouts and gestures angry, hoarse, strident as they scream for this and that ‘right’, and generally make a nuisance of themselves, tie up traffic, and act like so many spoiled children.

Watching them cavort, in their ragged clothes, unkempt appearance and tacky behavior, we straights are disinclined to even consider their ‘demand’ for marriage equality. Our impulse is to lock the car door, turn up the radio, take a detour to avoid this mob.

Here’s why we straights need to look long and hard at the very issue that those urchins are demanding. Why, indeed, we ought to be out there marching with them, waving that colorful rainbow flag, shoulder to shoulder with that rag-tag group of warmed over hippies and recycled flower children.


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Written on Apr, 10, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

The Equality Act (8th April 2010) will come into force in October of this year representing the most radical changes to employment law in thirty five years, in the United Kingdom.

This act has been developed with two specific purposes in the eyes of the government; to strengthen and consolidate the law in relation to equality and to simplify and harmonise existing discrimination legislation.

The intent was to counteract two specific economic risks present under previous legislation; the risk to the transparency of the law brought about by the ambiguity of current legislation leading to legal cases arising from ignorance and the risk to the efficiency of markets as a result of the continued discrimination and persistent disadvantage of specific socio-economic groups.

It also poses changes that will hopefully lead to the more efficient operation of the judicial system in relation to equality cases.

Ideology aside such changes in law leave us asking, how this will affect my business. Although the full implications of such an act can never be realised initially the following have been highlighted as areas in which the law will cause change to employer’s routines in relation to the procurement and management of employees.

- Pre-Employment Health Enquiries have now been banned specifically aimed at health questionnaires provided as part of an application for a position of employment.

These will no longer be acceptable except in specific cases such as those in which the medical health of an employee is vital to fulfilling the role offered.

If you believe a position you are proposing is as such I would suggest checking this information, as infringement of these new provisions may result in enforcement action from the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

It is still however the obligation of the employer to ask if any special provisions are needed to facilitate an interview. It is also worth noting that although such questionnaires are not banned after an offer of employment has been given if such an offer is then retracted the burden will lie on the employer to prove this was not due to any information obtained of the employee’s medical status.

- Already in use are the new “fit notes” (Social Security and Statutory Sick Pay Medical Evidence), to replace “sick notes” which we are all accustomed to.

Although performing the customary role of the sick notes doctors will now give details of what a person is capable of doing in a working environment while they are sick and what reasonable adjustments an employer can make to help them return to work.

As a doctor is unqualified to judge if an individual is fit for work across the diversity of industries in our society these notes and their conclusions are not binding to the employer but should be taken into heavy consideration along with industrial guidelines, health and safety etc.

It should also be noted that the adjustments noted by a doctor in these do not over rule the duties of the employer in relation to providing reasonable adjustments under the Disability Discrimination Act and these duties still apply.

- Permission of voluntary positive action by employers. This means that legally employers have the option now to employ a candidate with a “protected characteristic” over other candidates if this will allow them to overcome a disadvantage due to this characteristic or if this would result in them being employed in an area in which their characteristic is under represented.

This is not a legal requirement and is optional to employers.


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Written on Apr, 05, 2014 by in | Leave a comment

The Industrial Revolution has brought radical changes in the working place. This historical phenomenon swept much of the world, especially Europe where it started and the Americas.

One radical change it brought to the working place is the deterioration of working conditions as the number of workers or employees rose meteorically.

In this regard, the government would need to pass laws protecting the rights of workers. These protective laws paved the way for the creation of modern employment law in the United States.

What is Employment Law?

The Employment Law protects employees or workers from any kind of mistreatment on the workplace. The poor working conditions that resulted from Industrial Revolution led to the creation of laws establishing fair wages, limiting the number of working hours in a week and prohibiting child labor.

Other labor related laws also include laws regulating the cleanliness of the workplace, protection of employees from any kind of hazardous accidents.

Employment Laws have been passed standardizing the provision of benefits by the employers for the employees.Employment Law includes health insurance that benefits workers if medical problems arise due to poor work condition or unsanitary workplace.

In addition, Employment Law also covers protection against discrimination in the workplace based on religion, race, gender and other factors.

Let us focus more on employment discrimination laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces several employment discrimination laws that protect employees from compensation discrimination.

One of these laws is the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The passage of this law is milestone in labor history as it ensures that there shall be no wage discrimination based on sex in the workplace.

The Equal Pay Act

As stated above, this law requires that no wage discrimination shall take place based on gender. This law requires that men and women be given equal wage for the same work rendered in the same workplace. The jobs need not to be the same, but they must be essentially equal.

Further, the EPA states that it is not the job titles that matter in determining whether jobs are substantially equal but the job content.

Men and women alike are protected by EPA as it prohibits unequal wages to both genders that perform a job that requires substantially equal amount of work, skill and responsibility in the same workplace and same working conditions.

Pay differentials are only allowed when they are based on merit, seniority, quantity or quality of production or other factors than gender.

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