A female academic at the London School of Economics has warned that new workplace equality laws could end up hurting up men.
Dr Catherine Hakim has criticised the Single Equality Bill, currently being prepared by the government. The legislation will allow businesses to positively discriminate in favour of women when having to pick between them and an equally-well qualified man.
However Dr Hakim claims that current laws already mean that women are no longer discriminated against. She says that any gender pay gap is down to men and women making different career choices.
"The draft Bill is attempting to remedy under-representation within a company's work force,” says Andrew Haywood, a senior assistant at employment solicitors Dawsons LLP. “Whether it will have the desired effect remains to be seen.”
“Whilst some companies may take this as an opportunity to review their recruitment processes and address any imbalance within the workforce, in practice, even with a legislative defence, companies should act with caution before deciding to discriminate against a prospective candidate,” Haywood advises. “This will, no doubt, provide fertile grounds for debate and employment claims in the future."
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