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Equality Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:31 am on 9th June 2009.

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Katja Hall: A lot of the focus should be on the pre-recruitment stage in terms not only of encouraging people to apply to work in a particular company, but of  tailoring training to ensure that particular groups progress within the workplace. That is correct.

In terms of the drafting of the clause itself, we need to be clear what it refers to, but I am not sure that we are at the moment. We have some concerns. The explanatory notes and the clause are different, but we are also not entirely clear as to what “as qualified as” means in this context. Some of our legal members have been saying that it could be taken to mean just qualifications. We would like to see a much broader definition including experience and a reference along the lines of “‘as qualified as’ in the reasonable judgment of the employer”. Only with those caveats will we give employers the confidence to use the power. Otherwise, it will be a missed opportunity.