New laws to protect against discrimination published

The government today published new laws designed to protect
people against discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief,
writes Clare Jerrom.

The new measures set out in the Equality Bill would make it
unlawful for public authorities to discriminate or harass anyone in
carrying out their functions.

Home Office minister Fiona Mctaggart said: “These measures
would ensure that peoples of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds will
receive equal protection against discrimination.”

She added that she was pleased that the new provisions also
cover public functions as well as the provision of goods,
facilities, services and premises.

The measures would ban direct discrimination where a person, on
grounds of religion or belief, is treated less favourably than
another and indirect discrimination where a requirement, condition
or practice has the effect of putting people of a particular
religious belief at a disadvantage which cannot be justified.

They should also prevent victimisation where someone is treated
less favourably than others because, for example, they have
complained of discrimination or have assisted someone else in their

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