The aim of this paper is to evaluate assessing the significance and impacts of the Equality Act 2010. This is legal system aimed to fight discrimination. This paper also focuses on evaluating the Contract Law of UK through assessment of a case study. The Contract Law is the legal system that controls all contractual activity in England and Wales (Singer, 2012). Part: I The protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010:
The protected characteristics of the Equality Act 2010 have been assessed as follows:
Different kinds of discrimination identified by the Equality Act 2010:
- Age: People in all age groups are protected under the Equality Act 2010. This implies that nobody can be discriminated against because he or she belongs to a specific age group.
- Disability: As per the Equality Act 2010, if a person has a mental or physical problem, or some issue that influences his work performance, he is considered to be disabled. The Equality Act 2010 provides protection to all disabled people against discrimination.
- Gender reassignment: The Equality Act 2010 protects people who have had gender reassignment, are planning to opt for it. The Act also protects transsexual people, and people with similar characteristics.
- Marriage and civil partnership: People who are married, or, in civil partnerships, are protected by the Equality Act 2010. They cannot be discriminated against due to their marital status or partnership.
- Race: The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against racial discrimination and protects people belonging to all cultures and races. The Act considers different groups with similar characteristics as a single group. For example, all black people can be protected as a single group.
- Religion: The Equality Act 2010 protects the right to practice or believe in all religions. Noone can be discriminated against based on their religious beliefs.
- Gender: The Equality Act 2010 protects males and females equally and does not tolerate gender based discrimination.
- Sexual orientation: The Equality Act 2010 protects people against discrimination based on sexual orientation (Slattery, 2012).
The Equality Act 2010 highlights various kinds of discrimination. These have been identified as follows: The following forms of unequal treatment are distinguished by the Equality Act 2010: •Direct discrimination: This is the less favorable treatment of a person than another in a comparable situation. • Indirect discrimination: This is discrimination by apparently neutral provision, measure, criterion or practice that affects is a de facto discriminatory way. •Harassment: This is violation of the dignity of the person, in particular by creating an environment that is intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive. •Sexual harassment: This is harassment based on gender and involving sexual activity (Varoufakis, 2013). The prohibition of indirect discrimination is originally directed to the legislature and to other parties, unless they take collective action, ie working and living conditions, rules, or concretizing the implementation of obligations by measures of collective action. In substance, it comes to punishment method such as discrimination, putting certain groups of people at a disadvantage, while indeed avoiding an explicit designation of prohibited grounds of discrimination. These are created by the choice of seemingly neutral criteria, just to penalize those persons who exhibit features that are prohibited by the Equality Act 2010 (Varoufakis, 2013). Indirect discrimination can be assessed through the following steps: 1.First, a group formation is described by expressly prohibited criteria. For example, the employer differs in a measure between part-time and full-time employees, or a landlord distinguishes between the employed and unemployed, or between self-employed and employees. 2.Subsequently, a group is collectively and directly disadvantaged within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010. This can be done only by the other group that receive benefits or the fact that the group in question is directly treated in a worse manner. For example, part-time employees shall not receive sick pay. 3.If the discrimination against the group is - statistically speaking - in a special way, those concerns that are to be protected by prohibitions of discrimination. This affects more foreigners than nationals or more women than men - because these are the educated and disadvantaged groups relative to the other group that are over-represented. Thus, the offense of indirect discrimination occurs. 4.Indirect discrimination is, however, permissible in exceptional circumstances when this statistical "special concern" of a protected group is only a by-product of an acceptable target. So if while pursuing the goals of an organization, only loyal employees are given a Christmas bonus, it might be acceptable. This may exclude the temporary workers from payment, even if this measure predominantly affects women (Hargreaves-Heap, 2012). Assessment of the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on managers and directors of businesses in the United Kingdom:
As per the Equality Act 2010, if there are unjustified inequalities, the employee has a right of appeal. The employer must then take appropriate, necessary and reasonable measures to prevent the disadvantage. Steps must be taken against employees who violate the prohibition of discrimination. The steps can involve warning, transfer, dismissal, etc. Also protective measures must be established for employees at a disadvantage (Toikka, 2011). If the relevant employer fails to take inappropriate measures to stop harassment, the employee may refuse to perform. The claim to remuneration remains in this case too. In addition, the employee has a claim for damages which is aimed at compensation for financial damages, unless no fault is attributable to the employer. It is disputed whether this claim comprises also the merit of the unsuccessful candidates. The employee also has the right to make a compensation claim, of a reasonable monetary compensation for the suffered unequal treatment. The amount of the compensation claim depends inter alia on the nature and severity of the damage of interest, the occasion and the motives of the employer, the duration, the degree of fault of the employer and whether it is a case of recurrence (Hargreaves-Heap, 2012). With respect to the Equality Act 2010, Employers and HR managers need to address the following questions:
- Who must be protected?
- Was the operating discrimination indirect / direct, conscious / unconscious / condone, or are there situations in which their occurrence is predictable?
- What are harassment or discrimination characteristics?
- Can the disadvantages be justified?
In particular, obligations, liability, and compensation claims must be observed. These changes affect the protection, organization and action obligations of the employer, the burden of proof to the detriment of the employer, compensation claims, including injunction proceedings and the complaint and right to refuse performance of the employees. Employers need the new rights of the works council (but not of Staff Council), the necessary revisions for jobs, recruitment and selection, cancellations, new standards for employment contracts, dismissals, social selection, job references note. The new regulations relate to organization, cooperation, leadership, content issues as well as the participation modalities of workers respectively in cooperation with the works council (Hargreaves-Heap, 2012). In the application process, the practice has become common to perform any more reasons for not hiring a candidate. Instead, often a cover letter with return of application documents is included. It has only sample texts such as: "Sorry, your application will not be considered." In the decision, the hope of employers plays a central role, no targets for the suspicion offer a case of impermissible discrimination of each candidate before. However, the employer may submit a second application of a fictitious person who can demonstrate a possible discrimination in the application process of the candidates. For example, if the applicant is loaded without a discrimination feature for an interview, the actual candidate is left out. This can act as evidence. This means that the employer must prove, for example, in one trial, that no unlawful discrimination has taken place. The insurance industry is now dealing with the provision of specific policies (so-called Employment Practices Liability). Based on U.K. models, employers are against the risk of a claim by employees and applicants for breach of the Equality Act, in particular to compensation or damage claims. The Equality Act 2010 is effective in controlling discrimination. However, the churches in UK are beyond the Act. In the case, R (Amicus) v Secretary of State for Trade and Industry
, a number of labour unions questioned the fact that the churches were allowed to discriminate people on grounds of sexual orientation, and refused to employ gay men. The court dismissed this claim (Roback, 2012). Part: ii
In common law legal system, contract refers to an agreement formed between two or parties in respect to the two or more parties and all the parties involved in the contract are having one or more obligations to each other. In any valid contract, there should be three major elements. The elements are offer, acceptance and consideration (Barnett, 2012). The contracts can be done in writing or verbally. An example of verbal contract is Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company.
In case of the breach of a contract, the damages should be given by one party to another. The damages can be in form of monetary values. In the case given, it can be found that Malcolm wanted to buy a laptop and he wanted to replace his existing laptop. Ruth wanted to sell a laptop for £500. The cost of a new similar laptop is £900 and as the laptop offered by Ruth is only six months old, Malcolm thought that it is a great deal but the problem was that Malcolm did not have enough money in hand to buy the laptop. He had £300 in hand and he needed another £200 to buy the laptop and he told Ruth that he would buy the laptop if he could arrange the money by borrowing from his friend. Ruth stated that it was fine and she also told that she would keep the offer open for one week i.e. till next Monday at 2PM. So, one thing which is evident in the case is that there has been no contract formed between Malcolm and Ruth that the transaction will be done between them (McKendrick, 2011). As stated above, there are three major elements present in any valid contract. In this case, the offer to sell the laptop has been made by Ruth. Ruth told to sell the laptop for a price of £500. It means that the offer is valid. The second element which should be present in any contract is consideration. Malcolm considered the deal and he thought it is a great deal as the similar new laptop costs £900 and the laptop is only six months old and £500 is quite a good value for the laptop. So, it is a good deal. The consideration is also valid. An example of consideration can be found in the case of Hyde v Wrench.
But, one thing which is evident in the case is that the offer has not been accepted by Malcolm as he stated that he would buy the laptop only if he could arrange the money by borrowing from his hand. No contract has been formed between Malcolm and Ruth stating that Ruth cannot sell the laptop to anyone else other than Malcolm (Fruehwald, 2012). In the case, Malcolm was not sure whether he would be able to buy the laptop or not. As Malcolm did not promise to buy the laptop to Ruth, it can be stated that no contract has been made between Malcolm and Ruth. It has been stated in the case that Malcolm’s friend stated that he would lend £200 to Malcolm and Malcolm immediately tried to reach Ruth over telephone but Ruth was not present in home to take the call. Malcolm has conversation with Ruth’s sister and he told her that he has got the money and he would go to Ruth to buy the laptop on Monday morning by 10AM but Ruth’s sister failed to pass the message to Malcolm. It can be stated that the fact that Ruth was not present in the home to take the call is unintentional. Another thing which is evident in the case is that Ruth’s sister failed to inform Ruth about the matter which is an evidence of negligence and Malcolm can sue her for this (Furmston, 2012). Unknowingly about the matter that Malcolm has arranged the money, Ruth told her friend Sophie that she is going to sell the laptop and he offered Sophie to buy the laptop. As there is no contract present between Malcolm and Ruth and Malcolm did not promise to buy the laptop when Ruth had conversation with Malcolm or Malcolm did not give some money as advance and he did not have any legal document, Ruth can sell the laptop to anyone. Ruth told Sophie that she would sell the laptop. There has been a valid contract between Ruth and Sophie as all the major elements of a valid contract is present in the contract between them. The offer has been made by Ruth that she would be selling the laptop and Sophie considered the offer from different aspects and she agreed to buy the laptop and finally, she accepted that offer. Sophie purchased the laptop from Ruth by handing over the money and the contract has been formed between them. On Thursday afternoon, Ruth posted a letter to Malcolm revoking the offer. According to the law of contract, revocation can be considered as a type of remedy for the offeror. As per the UK contract law, an offer can be revoked by the offeror before the offer has been accepted but the offeror should inform the offeree about it. In the case of Malcolm and Ruth, it can be found that Ruth posted a letter to Malcolm immediately after selling the laptop to Sophie. In a case, Brogden v Metropolitan Railway Company,
the Railway Company had another way to inform about the revocation. In this case, Ruth did not have a second way to inform about it considering the matter that she did not have the phone number of Malcolm (Atiyah, 2012). So, Malcolm cannot sue Ruth on the grounds that she did not inform Malcolm about the revocation. It is evident in the case that unfortunately on Friday, due to the four days postal strike, the letter was not delivered to Malcolm. The strike was called off suddenly and Ruth did not have any idea about the strike while she posted the letter. So, Malcolm cannot take any type of legal step against Ruth for not informing him about the revocation of the offer. There has not been any breach of contract. So, from the analysis, it can be concluded that there are a number of elements present in a valid contract and in the given case, Malcolm cannot take any legal step against Ruth as no valid contract has been made between them. After the offer has been given to Malcolm by Ruth, Malcolm neither accepted the offer nor did he promise to purchase the laptop in a specific time period. He only stated that he would buy the laptop if he could arrange the money from her friend. If Malcolm had given some money as advance to Ruth and a contract has been made based on that then Malcolm could sue Ruth for revoking the offer but in this case, nothing has been made as such. So, Ruth sold the laptop to her friend, Sophie, who accepted the offer immediately after the offer has been made by Ruth. Ruth also followed all the terms present in a valid contract. A valid contract was also formed between the Ruth and Sophie which is legally correct. As stated above, Malcolm cannot also sue Ruth for revocation of the offer as she tried to inform Malcolm about the revocation but due to the sudden postal strike, the letter did not arrive to Malcolm which is entirely unintentional.