Employment Act 1989

JurisdictionUK Non-devolved
Citation1989 c. 38


Employment Act 1989

1989 CHAPTER 38

An Act to amend the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 in pursuance of the Directive of the Council of the European Communities, dated 9th February 1976, (No.76/207/EEC) on the implementation of the principle of equal treatment for men and women as regards access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions; to repeal or amend prohibitions or requirements relating to the employment of young persons and other categories of employees; to make other amendments of the law relating to employment and training; to repeal section 1(1)(a) of the Celluloid and Cinematograph Film Act 1922; to dissolve the Training Commission; to make further provision with respect to industrial training boards; to make provision with respect to the transfer of staff employed in the Skills Training Agency; and for connected purposes.

[16th November 1989]

Be it enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

Overriding of provisions requiring discrimination as respects employment or training

Overriding of provisions requiring discrimination as respects employment or training

S-1 Overriding of statutory requirements which conflict with certain provisions of 1975 Act.

1 Overriding of statutory requirements which conflict with certain provisions of 1975 Act.

(1) Any provision of—

(a) an Act passed before the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 , or

(b) an instrument approved or made by or under such an Act (including one approved or made after the passing of the 1975 Act),

shall be of no effect in so far as it imposes a requirement to do an act which would be rendered unlawful by any of the provisions of that Act referred to in subsection (2).

(2) Those provisions are—

(a) Part II (discrimination as respects employment);

(b) Part III (discrimination as respects education etc.) so far as it applies to vocational training; and

(c) Part IV (other unlawful acts) so far as it has effect in relation to the provisions mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b) above.

(3) Where in any legal proceedings (of whatever nature) there falls to be determined the question whether subsection (1) operates to negative the effect of any provision in so far as it requires the application by any person of a requirement or condition falling within subsection (1)(b)(i) of section 1 or 3 of the 1975 Act (indirect discrimination on grounds of sex or marital status)—

(a) it shall be for any party to the proceedings who claims that subsection (1) does not so operate in relation to that provision to show the requirement or condition in question to be justifiable as mentioned in subsection (1)(b)(ii) of that section; and

(b) the said subsection (1)(b)(ii) shall accordingly have effect in relation to the requirement or condition as if the reference to the person applying it were a reference to any such party to the proceedings.

(4) Where an Act passed after the 1975 Act, whether before or after the passing of this Act, re-enacts (with or without modification) a provision of an Act passed before the 1975 Act, that provision as re-enacted shall be treated for the purposes of subsection (1) as if it continued to be contained in an Act passed before the 1975 Act.

S-2 Power of Secretary of State to repeal statutory provisions requiring discrimination as respects employment or training.

2 Power of Secretary of State to repeal statutory provisions requiring discrimination as respects employment or training.

(1) Where it appears to the Secretary of State that a relevant provision, namely any provision of—

(a) an Act passed before this Act, or

(b) an instrument approved or made by or under such an Act (including one approved or made after the passing of this Act),

requires the doing of an act which would (within the meaning of the 1975 Act) constitute an act of discrimination in circumstances relevant for the purposes of any of the provisions of that Act falling within section 1(2) above, he may by order make such provision (whether by amending, repealing or revoking the relevant provision or otherwise) as he considers appropriate for removing any such requirement.

(2) Subsection (1) shall have effect in relation to a provision to which section 1(1) above applies as if the reference to a relevant provision requiring the doing of an act were a reference to its so requiring but for the operation of section 1(1).

(3) Any order under this section which makes any amendment, repeal or revocation of a relevant provision within the meaning of subsection (1) may (without prejudice to the generality of section 28(5) below) amend or repeal any provision of this Act by virtue of which acts done in pursuance of the relevant provision are not to be unlawful for the purposes of provisions of the 1975 Act.

(4) Where an Act passed after this Act re-enacts (with or without modification) a provision of an Act passed before this Act, that provision as re-enacted shall be treated for the purposes of subsection (1) as if it continued to be contained in an Act passed before this Act.

Circumstances where discrimination as respects employment or training is permissible

Circumstances where discrimination as respects employment or training is permissible

S-3 Restriction of exemption for discrimination required by or under statute.

3 Restriction of exemption for discrimination required by or under statute.

(1) The 1975 Act shall be amended as follows.

(2) Section 7(2)(f) (exception for jobs held by men because of statutory restrictions on employment of women) shall be omitted.

(3) The following sections shall be substituted for section 51—

S-51 ‘Acts done for purposes of protection of women.

51 ‘Acts done for purposes of protection of women.

(1) Nothing in the following provisions, namely—

(a) Part II,

(b) Part III so far as it applies to vocational training, or

(c) Part IV so far as it has effect in relation to the provisions mentioned in paragraphs (a) and (b),

shall render unlawful any act done by a person in relation to a woman if—

(i) it was necessary for that person to do it in order to comply with a requirement of an existing statutory provision concerning the protection of women, or

(ii) it was necessary for that person to do it in order to comply with a requirement of a relevant statutory provision (within the meaning of Part I of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 ) and it was done by that person for the purpose of the protection of the woman in question (or of any class of women that included that woman).

(2) In subsection (1)—

(a) the reference in paragraph (i) of that subsection to an existing statutory provision concerning the protection of women is a reference to any such provision having effect for the purpose of protecting women as regards—

(i) pregnancy or maternity, or

(ii) other circumstances giving rise to risks specifically affecting women,

whether the provision relates only to such protection or to the protection of any other class of persons as well; and

(b) the reference in paragraph (ii) of that subsection to the protection of a particular woman or class of women is a reference to the protection of that woman or those women as regards any circumstances falling within paragraph (a)(i) or (ii) above.

(3) In this section ‘existing statutory provision’ means (subject to subsection (4)) any provision of—

(a) an Act passed before this Act, or

(b) an instrument approved or made by or under such an Act (including one approved or made alter the passing of this Act).

(4) Where an Act passed after this Act reenacts (with or without modification) a provision of an Act passed before this Act, that provision as re-enacted shall be treated for the purposes of subsection (3) as if it continued to be contained in an Act passed before this Act.

S-51A

51A Acts done under statutory authority to be exempt from certain provisions of Part III.

(1) Nothing in—

(a) the relevant provisions of Part III, or

(b) Part IV so far as it has effect in relation to those provisions,

shall render unlawful any act done by a person if it was necessary for that person to do it in order to comply with a requirement of an existing statutory provision within the meaning of section 51.

(2) In subsection (1) ‘the relevant provisions of Part III’ means the provisions of that Part except so far as they apply to vocational training.’

(4) The following section shall be inserted after section 52—

S-52A

52A ‘Construction of references to vocational training.

52A. In the following provisions, namely—

(a) sections 51 and 51A, and

(b) the provisions of any Order in Council modifying the effect of section 52,

‘vocational training’ includes advanced vocational training and retraining; and any reference to vocational training in those provisions shall be construed as including a reference to vocational guidance.’

S-4 Exemption for discrimination under certain provisions concerned with the protection of women at work.

4 Exemption for discrimination under certain provisions concerned with the protection of women at work.

(1) Without prejudice to the operation of section 51 of the 1975 Act (as substituted by section 3(3) above), nothing in—

(a) Part II of that Act,

(b) Part III of that Act so far as it applies to vocational training, or

(c) Part IV of that Act so far as it has effect in relation to the provisions mentioned in paragraphs (a) and...

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