After much deliberation on the subject, the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (ERRA) is to amend the Equality Act 2010 requiring the government to issue regulations outlawing caste discrimination.
The Equality Act currently defines the protected characteristics of race as colour, nationality and/or ethnic or national origin. The ERRA will amend the definition to include “caste” within the definition of “race”.
A timetable has now been published by the government as to when the legislation in relation to caste discrimination will be introduced.
The full timetable can be found by visiting: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/225658/130726-Caste-Discrimination.pdf
A summary of the timetable is provided below:
- The Equality and Human Rights Commission will begin work, in the form of discussions with groups and individuals, on caste and caste discrimination shortly (the timetable states that it will start in summer 2013 so we imagine this will begin within the next few weeks) and will last 3 to 6 months.
- The government will set out its proposals as to how “caste” should be defined within the legislation in a public consultation, which is expected in February or March 2014.
- The government will then engage with certain groups that need to be familiar with the legislation, such as the judiciary, public authorities and some employers, during summer 2014, to identify any issues that need to be addressed.
- The Government’s response to the consultation and draft Order is expected in Autumn 2014. There will then be a 12 week consultation on the draft Order, which will close in February 2015.
- The final draft Order is expected to be introduced into parliament in summer 2015.
According to media reports, the Anti-Caste Discrimination Alliance has said it is “shocked” by the length of the government’s timetable for introducing the new legislation. In response the government has said that the issue is “sensitive” and so “comprehensive consultation” is required.
If you would like any further information on this topic or on discrimination law in general, please contact a member of the Devonshires Employment team.