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Offshore Industry: Discrimination

Women and Equalities written question – answered on 30th January 2020.

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Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs

To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities, if she will bring forward legislative proposals to prevent offshore employment providers recruiting in the UK from discriminating against an applicant on the grounds of a protected characteristic.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department, Minister for Women

Companies based in the United Kingdom and which recruit here are subject to British laws, including those which protect people from discrimination because of their sex or any other protected characteristic. Conversely, employers based overseas who recruit British workers for overseas work are subject to the laws of the country in which they are based, and similar arrangements apply to work on ships where the ship’s ownership is outside the UK and the ship is to operate outside UK territorial waters.

This general legal position in no way excuses companies, as recently reported, which deny British women job opportunities on ships registered or owned abroad, especially where the company in question is seeking to recruit in this country. It is unacceptable to see this sort of blatant sex discrimination in 2020 if there is no genuine occupational requirement for a position to be filled by a man. The Department for Transport will be reviewing regulations on the treatment of seafarers and will be looking at this issue as part of the review.

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