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Clergy (Employment Legislation)

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 11th January 2005.

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Photo of Mark Tami Mark Tami Labour, Alyn and Deeside

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if the Government will take further steps to ensure that clergy are fully protected in respect of (a) race, (b) disability and (c) sex discrimination in relation to employment legislation.

Photo of Gerry Sutcliffe Gerry Sutcliffe Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Trade and Industry) (Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs)

Most clergy are office holders rather than employees, so discrimination against them in the course of their work did not generally fall within the scope of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976 or Disability Discrimination Act 1995 as originally drafted.

In 2003, office holders were brought within the scope of the Race Relations Act, while in 2004, new provisions brought office holders within the scope of the Disability Discrimination Act. The Government proposes to bring office holders into the scope of the Sex Discrimination Act during 2005.

By extending the scope of anti-discrimination legislation to cover office holders, the Government are ensuring that members of the clergy are protected by such legislation.

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