Bosses in Dismay over War on Bias at Work

By Doughty, Steve | Daily Mail (London), December 14, 2001 | Go to article overview

Bosses in Dismay over War on Bias at Work


Doughty, Steve, Daily Mail (London)


Byline: STEVE DOUGHTY

MINISTERS promised yesterday to introduce controversial anti-discrimination rules to benefit older workers, religious believers and homosexuals.

The laws will be designed to meet the Government's aim of eliminating prejudice in the workplace - and to comply with EU directives.

The proposals alarmed business leaders. One said yesterday the impact of the legislation could be like 'opening up a hornet's nest'.

Already burdened with excessive red tape, companies fear the cost of implementing rules in favour of selected groups of workers.

They are also concerned about the inevitable price of the compensation claims that are bound to come from offended or opportunist employees who take their case to tribunals.

A consultation document launched yesterday by Department of Trade and Industry and Equality Minister Barbara Roche aims at outlawing discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, religion or age. It also includes proposals to update race and sex equality laws to meet EU directives.

The rules that will have a major impact for the greatest number of workers will cover age.

They are likely to bar the practice of setting a compulsory retirement age, as well as stopping firms from refusing to hire applicants because they are too old. They will also make it difficult for companies to sack older employees rather than younger staff when redundancies are made.

'Unfair discrimination is plainly wrong,' said Miss Roche. 'It stops people realising their potential and it stops business from using the skills and talents in their workforce to good effect. …

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