Scotland Equality Law Bulletin - January 2017


News from the EU - Case law update by Lindsey Reynolds

In three recent decisions, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considers interpretation of different aspects of Framework Directive 2000/78 (“the Directive”).  These cases demonstrate the broad scope of the Directive, which prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on four protected grounds; religion or belief, disability, age and sexual orientation.

In this month’s article, Lindsey Reynolds will discuss the implications of the decisions which cover:  

  • the meaning of “long-term” within the definition of disability,
  • age restrictions as a genuine occupational requirement, and
  • pension rights of people in same-sex unions.


Conference Monday 23rd January - Discrimination Law in 2017: Chaired and devised by Michael Rubenstein

Places are still available at this top-level conference.  Discrimination Law in 2017 features a panel of leading discrimination law experts who will give authoritative updates and the latest developments in legislation and key equality cases.   

Join us and six of Britain’s leading discrimination law experts for a very special and exciting day.

There will be a comprehensive pack for you to take away and refer to over the coming months.


  • Judge Shona Simon, President of Employment Tribunals (Scotland)
  • Robin Allen QC, Cloisters Chambers
  • Karon Monaghan QC, Matrix Chambers
  • Sean Jones QC, 11 KBW Chambers
  • Rachel Crasnow QC, Cloisters Chambers
  • Michael Rubenstein, Equal Opportunities Review                

The cost is £75 (Inc. VAT) per delegate. A limited number of free places may be available to charitable and voluntary organisations on application. Full programme and booking form can be found here.


Inquiry into housing for disabled people

On 14 December 2016 the Commission launched a formal inquiry on housing for disabled people.  It will look at whether the availability of accessible and adaptable housing, and the support services around it, is fulfilling disabled people’s rights to live independently.  Our inquiry will cover England, Scotland and Wales.  Further details are available here.


Religion or Belief: a guide to the law

This guide provides an overview of the protections offered by the Equality Act 2010 and the Human Rights Act 1998 for people with or without a religion or belief. It answers commonly asked questions such as what is indirect discrimination and can it ever be justified, and how much employers are expected to know about religion or belief in order to fulfil their legal obligations.

This guide is for employers across the private and public sectors.  Read our guidance here.

Religion or Belief: is the law working?

We have also published a review which looks at how well the law in Great Britain protects individuals with a religion or belief, or lack of religion or belief.  It focusses on four areas:

  • definitions of religion or belief
  • exceptions in the Equality Act
  • the law protecting employees
  • the law protecting service users and service providers

Read our report here.

Protecting human rights: key challenges for the UK's third Universal Periodic Review

We have submitted a wide-ranging report to the UN which outlines the major human rights issues facing Britain.  Our report found that, despite some tentative improvements on issues such as stop and search and modern slavery, there were areas where more work needs to be done.

This report is part of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).  The UPR is a process set up by the UN Human Rights Council in 2006 to review the human rights situation in every UN Member State.  The UPR sends out the important message that all countries have the scope to improve the way human rights are promoted and protected.

The UK is due to be assessed for the third time under the UPR in 2017.  Read the full report here.

EU8 migrants in Scotland: 2011 Census analysis summary

This short paper summarises research commissioned by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and conducted by Dr Marina Shapira and Dr Monika Wilinska of the School of Applied Social Science, University of Stirling.  This research was compiled from an analysis of tables produced by the National Records of Scotland and some specially commissioned tables.

This paper focuses on EU8 migrants living in Scotland and provides an overview of their demography, socio economic status, housing, education and health. Although dated, the 2011 Census remains the most authoritative source of information on EU8 migrants.

Read the full report here.

Mandatory Gender Pay Gap Reporting: Government response to the consultation on draft regulations

The UK government has published its response to the consultation on draft mandatory gender pay gap reporting regulations. 

The amendment to the Equality Act 2010, if approved in parliament, will mean that private sector businesses with 250 or more employees in the UK will have to publish gender pay gap and bonus data for their organisation.

Read the Government's response here. Read the proposed regulations here.

Last updated: 16 Jan 2017