Discrimination in England and Wales

Essay by minxyCollege, UndergraduateA-, March 2004

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Discrimination in England and Wales is recognised as the act of treating someone less favourably on unjustifiable grounds.

The laws of discrimination in England and Wales was introduced in the 1970's and updated in the 1990's to prevent uncontrolled and entrenched prejudicial attitudes and practices. In the 1960's the common law had developed no restrictions on discrimination and while the law itself did not discriminate, they failed to prevent discrimination against individuals. Legislation on race, sex and later, disability discrimination was introduced to protect individuals, as well as bodies such as the equal opportunities commission and commission for racial equality, and Article 14 of the convention of the human rights Act 1998.

The discrimination laws were developed to include the Sex discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability discrimination Act 1995. Both acts have the common purpose pf eradicating discriminatory practices, and make it a tort apposed to a criminal offence.

If individuals feel their rights have been breached they can bring an action in an employment tribunal or in the county court.

Section 1(1)(a) of both acts state that Direct discrimination is deliberate discrimination purely on the basis of their sex or race. In the case of Owen & Briggs V James 1982 it was held that a black woman had been directly discriminated against on the grounds of race when she had answered a job advertisement for a typist job. She could write 80 wpm shorthand but was told twice that she did not have the job while a white woman who could only write 30 wpm shorthand did.

In the Batisha v Sav 1977 case it was held that a woman was directly discriminated on grounds of sex when she was told she could not get the job of a cave...