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With a few exceptions, it is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly on grounds of sex in the provision of goods, facilities or services to the public, or a section of the public and in the disposal or management of premises.  The main exceptions include:

discrimination by non-profit making voluntary bodies, in restricting their membership to one sex or providing benefits to one sex only, in accordance with their main object

discrimination in the provision of facilities or services, to avoid serious embarrassment to users which would be caused by the presence of members of the opposite sex.

Part III contains the provisions relating to discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities or services and premises.

Positive action

Positive discrimination to favour one sex is unlawful.  There are limited exceptions, however,  allowing positive action in training, or to encourage women (or men) to apply for work in which they are under-represented.  These lawful exceptions are often referred to as positive action.

The positive action provisions are contained in Part V of the SDA.

Equal Pay Act 1970

The Equal Pay Act 1970 (EqPA) (read in the light of Article 141 of the Treaty of Rome) gives an individual a right to the same contractual pay and benefits as a person of the opposite sex in the same employment, or where the source of the pay is the same, where the man and the woman are doing:

like work; or

work rated as equivalent under an analytical job evaluation study; or

work that is proved to be of equal value.

The employer will not be required to provide the same pay and benefits if it can prove that the difference in pay or benefits is genuinely due to a material factor other than one which is attributable to direct or indirect sex discrimination.

Indirect sex discrimination would occur where the difference in pay and benefits is due to a condition or practice which applies equally to men and women but which adversely affects a considerably larger proportion of one sex than the other, and it is not justifiable, irrespective of sex, to apply that condition or practice.  So, for example, the fact that a woman is paid a lower hourly rate than a man because she works part-time and he works full-time is unlikely to be a good defence to an equal pay claim.

The EqPA applies to England, Wales and Scotland.

To whom does EqPA apply?

The EqPA applies to women and men of any age, including children.

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