In Unit 2 we need to think about the following political factors:
The Equal Opportunities Commission
If someone thinks they are being discriminated against because of their gender (male or female) they can contact the commission for guidance and advice, The commission monitors and provides information regarding men and women’s rights.
We are very fortunate in the United Kingdom to have a range of laws intended to protect people from discrimination.
The House of Commons is the lower house where our laws are written by Members of Parliament. The House of Lords is the higher house and its members debate the laws and has some powers to change or reject bills. Unlike the House of Commons, the members of the House of Lords are not elected.
The Palace of Westminster
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975
Before this law was passed it was legal to treat women and men unequally in the workplace, goods and facilities.
The law also makes it illegal to treat people differently if they are married or not. Employers could be reluctant to employ a married woman, thinking that she may have to have time of work to have baby. If they allow this to affect their decision to employ a women then they are breaking the law.
The Race Relations Act 1976
This law makes it illegal to discriminate against people because of their race. The law applies to employment, services and housing. The law also makes it illegal to promote or cause racial hatred.
The term race can mean:
Colour of skin
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995
And the Disability Rights Commission act 1999
As with race and gender people with disabilities can be discriminated against in many different ways. This law protect people against discrimination in employment, access to health and social care services, housing, transport and obtaining goods or services.
The laws makes it illegal for employers or service providers to treat disabled people in a negative way. Because of this law public buildings, other services and new transport to be accessible to disabled people. You will probably have noticed ramps outside shops and busses that lower when they stop and have wheelchair spaces.
The Commission for Racial Equality
The commission was set up by the government to try and make sure that the Race Relations Act is not being broken. If someone thinks they are being discriminated against because of their race the commission can investigate and even take legal action.
The Disability Rights Commission Act 1999
This commission was set up by the government to protect disabled people from discrimination as described in the Disability Discrimination Act.
The commission can give advice to people who feel that they are being discriminated against. The commission has the power to investigate claims of discrimination and, if necessary, take legal action.
Equality Laws and Commissions
Over the years the government has introduced a range of laws that try to prevent various different types of discrimination. Organisations called Commissions have also been set up which are used to help ensure that people aren’t being discriminated against.