HL Deb 20 May 2002 vol 635 cc76-7WA
Lord Lester of Herne Hill

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to the Written Answer by Baroness Scotland of Asthal on 30 April (WA 91), whether they consider that as a matter of principle it would be desirable for legislation to provide for the same burden of proof in employment and non-employment cases of alleged unlawful discrimination whether on grounds of sex or otherwise; and, if not, why not. [HL4159]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Baroness Scotland of Asthal)

In our recent consultation documentTowards Equality and Diversity, we made specific proposals as regards the burden of proof in discrimination cases under legislation implementing the Race and Employment Directives (2000/43/EC and 2000/78/EC). These proposals would entail inserting provisions on burden of proof into the Race Relations and Disability Discrimination Acts, as we recently did for the Sex Discrimination Act, and including similar rules in new legislation on sexual orientation, religion and belief and age.

It is already a significant undertaking to implement the directives, and we are committed to their full implementation.

Regarding sex discrimination, we may be giving the matter further consideration, for instance in the light of forthcoming proposals for a gender directive from the European Commission.

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