Byline: PRAVINA PATEL
CLINCHING that crucial business deal over a friendly game of golf has long been the route to the top.
But soon, doing business on the golf course and in other traditionally male-dominated arenas could be a thing of the past, thanks to new European Union rules on sex discrimination.
The new directive expands sex discrimination laws to include practices outside the workplace, and means employees could sue if they are unfairly treated because of the way a company conducts its business.
For example, if a women was not getting as much business as a male colleague who was landing deals on the golf course, and that limited her career options, she would have a case.
And despite the wording in the EU directive which came into force on Friday, referring largely to discrimination against women, the law is open to both sexes.
In typical legalese, Europe's amendments to the 1975 Sex Discrimination Act outlaw any practice which 'would apply equally to a man [or woman], but is such that it would be to the detriment of a considerably larger proportion of women than of men'.
The legislation in The Sex Discrimination (Indirect Discrimination and Burden of Proof) Regulations 2001 is set to open the floodgates to hundreds of cases and will send a shudder through the City, where high-flyers are renowned for sealing deals outside the office.
'I think it's all getting a bit silly,' said Ruth Lea, head of the policy unit at the Institute of Directors. …