Posted by Kate Phizackerley on 01:12

I keep saying I will read the new Equality Act in full but haven't yet found time.  Last week I did a pro bono paper for a pension scheme and had occasion to review the pensions clauses in the Equality Act 2010, sections 61 thru' 63.  I knew there was a non-discrimination rule and had assumed it was drafted in terms of benefits.  It's not.  Section 61(2) reads:

A non-discrimination rule is a provision by virtue of which a responsible person (A)—
(a) must not discriminate against another person (B) in carrying out any of A’s functions in relation to the scheme;
(b) must not, in relation to the scheme, harass B;
(c) must not, in relation to the scheme, victimise B.
That means the obligation not to discriminate applies to the whole management of the scheme.  The drafting of a) is slightly less clear than I would have liked as it may only refer to direct discrimination, although one would have expected it to refer to indirect discrimination as well.  I suspect it may take time for Trustees to understand how it might impact on, for instance, their communication strategies.  In large schemes, should there be recorded versions of the booklet for deaf members for instance rather than just relying on printed material? 
 

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