Steve has been looking at the proposed Equality Bill. There's more to it than discrimination against white men:
Potentially more damaging, though less extensively reported, are the proposals on religious equality.The right of an employer to maintain a harmonious workplace, focussed on the job in hand rather than on the sectarian differences between members of staff, is not a part of this Bill.
The Equality Bill will contain a new streamlined Equality Duty to replace the race, disability and gender equality duties, which will also cover gender reassignment, age, sexual orientation and religion or belief.
There is not much detail about what this actually means but it will probably give more legal force to religious groups making demands on their employers and on public bodies. Religion and belief are largely matters of choice, unlike skin-colour, gender of disability. Beliefs also conflict with each other. This has already caused problems in workplaces where religious disputes have occurred or where the right to express religious views has conflicted with the right of gays not to be harassed because of their sexuality.
Should employers respect religious right to the point that they accommodate a Christian's request not to share an office with a lesbian, or a BNP supporter's refusal to work with a Muslim?