Discrimination Watchdogs Criticized For Failing To Use Enforcement
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
August 31, 2006
UNITED KINGDOM--Three watchdog groups responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination laws in the United Kingdom have failed to use their powers to protect target groups, including people with disabilities, according to a highly critical study released Wednesday.
The Public Interest Research Unit, in its report entitled "Teeth and their Use - Enforcement Action by the Three Equality Commissions", asserted that the Commission for Racial Equality, Equal Opportunities Commission, and the Disability Rights Commission did not use five of their enforcement powers and seldom used the other five between January 1999 and June 2006.
According to news sources in England, Scotland, and Wales, the report noted as an example the fact that one power which was not used involved the ability to crack down on discriminatory advertisements for jobs, which "appears to have made it harder for some people with long-term illnesses to get back into employment and for some mothers to gain promotion."
The study's author, Rupert Harwood, said the failure to use enforcement powers has undoubtedly helped ensure that most who discriminate against these protected groups have gotten away with breaking the law.
Officials with the three watchdog agencies have responded by criticizing the report.
"Equality commissions leave employment discrimination enforcement powers gathering dust on the shelf" (Personnel Today)
"Equality law powers 'under-used'" (BBC Scotland)
"Equality watchdogs accused of reluctance to bite" (Western Mail)