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June/July 2017 (vol. 14/1)

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Expert Witness: Direct or indirect?

An explanation of direct and indirect discrimination

Summary:

Diana Kloss explains why it is important to understand the essential difference between direct and indirect discrimination. She explores two important decisions of the Supreme Court: Essop v Home Office and Naeem v Secretary of State for Justice.

One of the reasons that discrimination law is so complex is that there are a number of methods of committing an act of unlawful discrimination. The most obvious is direct discrimination, for example rejection of a job applicant because they are black, or female, or gay, or Muslim. Proving that the alleged offender has a discriminatory motivation is often not easy. These days, most managers are aware of the Equality Act 2010 (EqA) and would want to avoid employment tribunals. Also, it is often the case that prejudice is unconscious. ‘His face didn’t fit’, or ‘I don’t think she would have the stamina for the job’, or ‘he isn’t a team player’ may be outward justifications of the speaker’s concealed bias, of which even they are unaware.

Diana Kloss is a barrister, former part-time employment judge, Acas arbitrator and author.

Author: Kloss D

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Occupational Health at Work June/July 2017 (vol. 14/1) pp18-20

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