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News from EHRC Scotland View on web September 2020 Newsletter Articles Two strikes and you''re out for ''No DSS''? In this edition, Commission solicitor David Faith blogs on the impact of two recent County Court decisions on the so-called 'No DSS' policy. These courts found examples of this policy to

News from EHRC Scotland

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View on web

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September 2020 Newsletter


Articles


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Two strikes and you''re out for ''No DSS''?


In this edition, Commission solicitor David Faith blogs on the impact of two recent County Court decisions on the so-called 'No DSS' policy.? These courts found examples of this policy to be indirectly discriminatory towards women and disabled people as they are more likely to be in receipt of benefits.? David looks at the background to these decisions and considers their potential impact.


Read the blog on Shelter''s website here
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Introducing a new resource on article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights


In this article, Commission solicitor Lindsey Reynolds explains the methodology behind, and summarises the conclusions of, two innovative pieces of work relating to article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which will be of interest to practitioners in this field.?


These new resources are produced by the working group 'Equality Law in Practice' - Equinet's permanent platform for legal staff of equality bodies. The group have recently completed a focused study of article 14 ECHR, the non-discrimination principle.?This has resulted in two publications.?


The first is a Compendium of article 14 cases from the European Court of Human Rights.? It analyses 37 recent cases that fall within the remit of article 14 and have relevance to the work of equality bodies.?The expertise developed during the study period contributed to Equinet's first third party intervention in the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Toplak and Mrak v Slovenia, concerning accessibility of polling stations to disabled people, which is also available on Equinet's website.


Read the article on EHRC''s website
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News


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Children''s rights introduced to Holyrood



The UNCRC (Incorporation) (Scotland) Bill has been introduced to the Scottish Parliament.


The bill seeks to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) directly into domestic Scots law.?The introduction will make it unlawful for public authorities to act incompatibly with the incorporated UNCRC requirements. By imposing these compliance duties, this will give children, young people and their representatives the power to go to court to enforce their rights.


Additionally, the bill gives power to the Children's Commissioner to take legal action in relation to children's rights.


A Children's Rights Scheme will require to be produced by Ministers.?This will involve setting out how they comply with their obligations regarding children's rights, and report annually. Listed public authorities will also have to report every three years on how they comply with their obligations regarding children's rights.


Further information on the incorporation of the UNCRC is available from The Children and Young People's Commissioner and Scottish Parliament.


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EHRC launches new guidance for retailers to do more to help disabled customers


Infographic explaining retailers'' legal responsibilities to disabled customers: the need to make reasonable adjustments


In response to growing concerns over the accessibility of supermarkets and retailers, we have?published new guidance to help the industry better assist disabled customers, which is of particular importance during the pandemic.


The four step guide aims to ensure that retailers do not discriminate against any customers using their service either in-store or online and serves as a reminder of the duty to make reasonable adjustments.?The legal requirements still apply during the coronavirus pandemic, when many retailers will be adapting how they deliver their services due to social distancing and online delivery slot pressures.?


Read the guidance here
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DWP enters legally binding agreement to improve services for disabled people



The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has entered a legally binding agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to improve support for deaf customers accessing its services by telephone.


The agreement was reached after two advisers raised a complaint with the EHRC on behalf of four hearing-impaired people.?The customers needed to use the telephone service with a British Sign Language interpreter to help them decide whether or not to apply for a home loan.


All four disabled people faced difficulties in dealing with staff from DWP and Serco, who didn't know how to arrange the interpreting service. Only one out of the four managed to book an interpreter, and only after three months of difficulty.


The DWP has committed to improving their services and an action plan has been agreed.?The EHRC will liaise with the DWP to ensure each step in the action plan is completed.?


This outcome shows the value of advisers and front-line staff reporting issues of discrimination to the EHRC, and what can be achieved by doing so.


Read more on the agreement and DWP''s action plan here
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Sexual harassment in the workplace:? Sainsbury''s enter into legal agreement with the Equality and Human Rights Commission



Leading supermarket chain?Sainsbury's has entered into a section 23 agreement, under the Equality Act 2006, with the Equality and Human Rights Commission.?The agreement has been reached following an Employment Tribunal decision last year in which Sainsbury's were found liable for sexual harassment in the workplace.? The agreement requires the supermarket chain to take all reasonable steps to prevent employees from committing harassment.


The lessons learned from the #MeToo movement coupled with the contribution of retail workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic serve as reminders that retail staff are deserving of respect and protection, and that sexual harassment has no place in the workplace.


Everyone should be provided with a safe working environment and the agreement with Sainsbury's aims to set standards fit for the twenty-first century.


Read more on the terms of the agreement here
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Glasgow City Council lose foster carers'' employment rights appeal



In a recently published decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) confirmed that Glasgow City Council entered into a contract of employment with foster carers, Mr and Mrs Johnstone.


Mr and Mrs Johnstone acted as foster carers for Glasgow City Council through a new model of foster care known as "Multi-Dimensional Treatment Foster Care".?When they brought an Employment Tribunal case claiming breaches of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and unlawful deduction of wages, Glasgow City Council relied on a substantial line of earlier case law to argue that the Johnstones were neither employees nor workers providing services and so the Employment Tribunal did not have jurisdiction to hear their case.?


However, the Employment Tribunal found the facts of this case were such that Mr and Mrs Johnstone were council employees.


Glasgow City Council appealed this decision and the EAT upheld the earlier decision.? his was based on a number of factors including the payment of a fee of ?32,000 per annum from the council to Mr and Mrs Johnstone in respect of fostering services and also on the council's degree of control over delivery of the fostering services.?These are not typical features of "ordinary" fostering arrangements and are not set out in statute.


Only a very small number of foster carers are employed on this type of contract and it is not yet clear whether this judgement will have any implications for other foster carers.??


Read the decision here
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Adviser Support


If you are an adviser, solicitor or anyone else who works with people who might have been discrimination against,? EHRC Adviser Support can provide you with expert advice on equality and human rights law.? To get in touch with someone in our legal team, you can reach us on 0141 228 5990 or at scotlandadvisersupport@equalityhumanrights.com


Contact us about a case


We are interested in hearing from solicitors, advocates and advisers who are bringing cases which we may consider funding or in which we may intervene.?To speak with our legal team about a case or issue,?call us on 0141 228 5951 (Monday to Friday).

Find out?more.

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Equality and Human Rights Commission

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