Equality commission risks alienating employers

Aug 06 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The Government has been accused of failing to take into account the needs of employers in its rush to create a new ‘super-commission’ for workplace equality and human rights.

Responding to the consultation white paper ‘Fairness for All’ which proposes the creation of a new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR), the Employers Forum on Age (EFA) warns that the government is too busy listening to the equality lobby who are calling for even more legislation.

The white paper spelt out a plan to merge the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality, and the Disability Rights Commission. But many employers fear that the proposed Commission will be too biased in favour of pressure groups.

Sam Mercer, director of the EFA, said: “Giving employers so little chance to make their voices heard is a bad deal for employers and working people alike.

"The Government runs the risk of both alienating employers and hearing only from pressure groups who are intent on increasing legislation. This has led to calls for a single equality act before the CEHR is even in existence and able to establish that it is a good idea.”

She added that employers have had limited opportunity to fully consider the Government’s proposals, despite the amount of new equality and other HR related legislation they are currently having to consider. This means that ministers will get an unbalanced response to the proposals put forward in this consultation.

EFA, whose 160 members employ more than three million people, called for more time to consult on the plans in order to put together a pragmatic series of measures.

It called for a key role for business in the management and priority setting of the CEHR, help for employers now in implementing the new discrimination regulations and a focus on the practical delivery of advice and support to employers and individuals on existing legislation, rather than a headlong rush to introduce new laws.