The Equality Bill (previous posts 1, 2 , 3 and 4) is the most dangerous anti-male Act (when it is passed) ever to pass through Parliament. It was unmasked this week by the Conservatives (Hansard - Column 1123) for its anti-male intent.
Just to recap, the Equality Bill introduces the concept that where two candidates for a position are equally qualified, the employer can choose one person over another if they feel it will improve the diversity of their workforce (The Equalities Commission pathetically try to justify it by using the one area - male primary school teachers - where men could benefit. An obvious ruse to try and hide its anti-male intent).
The problems arise with regard to the definition of equal in the Bill and also how this will be used, as it will inevitably be, to stop men from being promoted or taken on if there are 'too many ' men in the workplace already. Although it can only be used if the man and women were equal, such is the pressure to employ more women in senior positions and the like, this threshold will not be used. If a man is better than the woman (qualifications, better interviewee etc ) but there are few women in an organisation then it is likely she will be employed.
Employers will be under pressure especially if they report a gender pay gap (not a real one where men and women doing the same job get paid differently, the alleged one where there is a difference between men and women's pay but because they are doing different jobs in a company) across the organisation. The law gives a nod and wink to it and it will lead to discrimination as men are denied a position on merit. It is sexist in intent and implementation.
The Conservatives raised crucial concerns in Parliament about the specific wording in the clause on this issue. The clause says "as qualified" but the Conservatives want "equally qualified". As John Penrose MP, the Conservative leading on this issue states, the former leads to an interpretation of "positive discrimination" and the latter "positive action". We could debate for hours on whether there is a difference in reality but positive discrimination certainly means allowing less able people to jump ahead of more able people because of their gender.
The issue with "as qualified" as John Penrose highlights is that if two people meet a minimum threshold then the discrimination can take place, but if they are equally qualified then it means they have to be as good as each other exactly.
For example, two engineers have the same minimum qualifications (they have the same bits of paper) but the man has 15 years experience and the female 5 years. Under the Labour proposal (and other things being equal such as interview performance) company x could use the Equality Act to give her the job but under the Conservative proposal they could not because the man has more experience.
It is all technical but it is crucial and Penrose did an excellent job in explaining it.
However, Attorney General Vera Baird MP (a pal of Harman's) refused to budge and the Conservative amendment was rejected.
The issue though is that the Conservative amendment was completely reasonable and in keeping with the ethos of the Bill (the Bill is anti-male but if it is going to be passed it was better that the Conservative amendment was included thereby making it clear what the law is and making it easier for a man to sue an employer for discrimination when being overlooked for a position because he is a man).
The fact that the Labour Government with Harman and Baird in full anti-male mode meant this amendment was turned down and shows their real intent. They want to discriminate against men in the workplace, it was always their intention. They want to make it harder for men to make a living. It is sexist and will deliberately damage the life and employment chances of men for decades and decades to come.