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Dual discrimination and the Equality Act

14 January 2011

Former BBC presenter, Miriam O’Reilly, has recently succeeded in her claim for Age Discrimination. O’Reilly was one of four female presenters, all in their 40s or 50s, who were dropped from the BBC show Countryfile. Notably, 70 year old John Craven was kept on. O’Reilly did not succeed in her Sex Discrimination claim but would the position have been different if she had bought a dual discrimination claim?

The Equality Act 2010 introduces the new cause of action of “dual discrimination”. This provision is not yet in force but, if implemented, will prohibit direct discrimination in relation to a combination of two of the protected characteristics. For example, an older woman may in the future succeed where previously she would have failed to show less favourable treatment than a man or than a woman. The critical combination of two protected characteristics will succeed where the single strand approach would not.

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