1. What does the phrase construed as discriminatory in paragraph 2 mean? What do you think would be involved in proving that a job advertisement could be construed as discriminatory?
2. What do you understand by the phrase reasonable adjustments in paragraph 3? What factors do you think might be taken into account when deciding if an adjustment is reasonable?
3. What do you think compensation for [...] injured feelings in paragraph 6 refers to? What kinds of work-related situations do you think could result in such a claim for compensation?
Reading tasks _______________________________________________________
14. Look at the title and read the first paragraph of the text. What do you think case bonanza means? Why will there be a case bonanza?
15. Read the first two paragraphs. What does each of the three planned directives deal with?
EU employment laws mean case bonanza
Employment lawyers will soon experience a major boom in work after the European Commission last month published plans to outlaw discrimination in the workplace on the basis of age, religion and sexual orientation. At present, UK domestic legislation only allows for claims against employers on the grounds of race, sex and disability. The proposed directive would also cover, inter alia, discrimination based on age and religion.
Further directives are also planned. A second one would deal with outlawing discrimination on the grounds of race and ethnicity more generally, while a third envisages a “programme of action”, providing practical support and funding for education on race-discrimination issues and for groups which target race discrimination.
Once passed, the directives would place a deadline on transposition into the national laws of the member states and might allow people to bring claims against governments and other state employers, such as local councils.
The directives would add to a large number of other European measures already enshrined in UK law, such as those covering maximum working hours and entitlement to parental leave, which were enacted last year, and have led to a huge growth in work for employment practitioners. It is only since the Amsterdam Treaty was passed last summer that European law-makers have had the ability to introduce anti-discrimination legislation on any basis other than sex.
David Cockburn, the former chairman of the Law Society’s Employment Law committee, said: “The whole discrimination industry will take off in the next four or five years because of so much legislation in the pipeline.” He said advising employers on how to avoid claims and increased awareness amongst the public of their rights would give rise to more work for solicitors. Mr Cockburn added that the scope of discrimination would also be opened up by a broader definition of indirect discrimination in the directive which would “remove any artificial hurdles claimants currently have to cross”.
Elizabeth Adams, chair of the Employment Lawyers Association’s international committee, said the directives would mean “more legislation for employers to tackle, more claims and more work for lawyers” as well as a “simpler route for claimants”.
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