Arlene Phillips, one of the judges on TV’s “Strictly Come Dancing” was aged 66 when she was not reappointed. Neither her age nor her sex on their own was the reason for her non-reappointment – this was provable from the fact that another judge was 65 and yet another judge was female. Under the law at the time (making other assumptions) she would not have been able to win either an age discrimination or a sex discrimination claim as each claim would have had to be considered separately. Neither claim could stand up on its own and so she, or at least an employee in a similar position, would have lost a discrimination claim. However on the basis that the reason for the refusal to reappoint her was combination of her age and her sex, the new “dual discrimination” provision in the Equality Act 2010 could make the situation different.
This particular provision of the Equality Act 2010 has not been brought into force on 1 October 2010, so the law in this respect is currently unchanged. However when the relevant section is brought into force a person in the position outline above would be able to bring a claim as a “dual discrimination claim”. Any two of age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation will then be eligible to be combined into a free-standing “dual discrimination” claim. Currently it is thought that likely that this provision will come into force in April 2011, but this is subject to confirmation and is still uncertain.
It should be noted that there is nothing to prevent an employee in an appropriate situation from bringing separate “single strand” discrimination claims as well as a “dual discrimination” claim basing all three claims on the same protected characteristics.
This is an item from our October 2010 newsletter. If you are interested in subscribing to our monthly newsletter please click here.