Rejected job applicants will find it almost impossible to prove employers have discriminated against them if the government has its way, warns Equality South West and the South West TUC.
The two organisations are encouraging people in the region to take part in the consultation exercise over the proposed removal of part of the Equality Act allowing unsuccessful candidates to quiz employers about why they did not get a job.
Equality South West chief executive Katie Pratt said: “Missing out on a new job or promotion is always disappointing, but it can be a bitter blow if you suspect you might have missed out because of discrimination… but can’t prove it.
“Without having to tell people who else was interviewed for the job – for example, were they a man or a woman? what experience did they have? – employers have a free hand to appoint who they want – a family member or close friend, for example – regardless of whether they will be any good at the job.
“The government says equality is at the heart of all its policies, yet this is a brazen attempt to remove legislation that protects workers from discrimination on a number of grounds, including, age, gender and race. This is another nail in the coffin of equality in the workplace.”
Equality South West argues that good employers have nothing to fear from transparency, as the process of completing the questionnaire helps them to identify any unintended flaws in their employment practices.
They believe if the government goes ahead with the change, it would enable bad employers to get away with unlawful discrimination, and leave individuals with no legal support to challenge it.
Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, said: “By removing a candidate’s right to send a questionnaire to the employer after the interview, the government is in danger of giving employers carte blanche to act as they like.
“This will immunise employers against discrimination cases, making them unaccountable and, together with suggestions in the Beecroft Report to allow employers to fire workers at will, this shows a worrying trend of reducing rights in the workplace.”
Responses to the consultation exercise can be sent here.
(from a press release)