Legislative Scrutiny: Equality Bill (second report); Digital Economy Bill - Human Rights Joint Committee Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

Employment by organisations based on religion or belief

1.  In the absence of any narrowing or clarification of either Schedule 9(2) or 9(3) we share the view of the European Commission that UK law does not comply with the Framework Equality Directive. (Paragraph 1.11)

2.  We note that further issues exist in respect of sections 58 and 60 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 (SSFA), which in reserving a certain proportion of posts in state-maintained or aided 'faith schools' for individuals who adhere to the religious beliefs and ethos of the school in question may be in breach of the Framework Equality Directive 200/78/EC, on the basis that the reservation of such posts is not restricted to circumstances where it can be shown that a genuine, legitimate and justified occupational requirement to adhere to a particular religious belief can be said to exist. (Paragraph 1.12)

3.  Provisions of Section 37 of the 2006 [Education and Inspections] Act have also widened the ability to reserve certain posts filled by non-teaching staff. These provisions may constitute a breach of the principle of non-regression in EU law. (Paragraph 1.13)

4.  We question why sections 58 and 60 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 are exempted from the Equality Bill. (Paragraph 1.14)

School admissions

5.  The exemption permitting faith schools to discriminate in their admissions on grounds of religion or belief may be overdrawn in this Bill. (Paragraph 1.21)

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