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Ensuring Protection Against Caste Discrimination in Britain: Should the Equality Act 2010 be Extended?

Waughray, Annapurna and Dhanda, M (2016) Ensuring Protection Against Caste Discrimination in Britain: Should the Equality Act 2010 be Extended? International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, 16 (2-3). pp. 177-196. ISSN 1358-2291

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Abstract

Section 97 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 requires the addition of caste to the Equality Act 2010 by secondary legislation as ‘an aspect of’ the protected characteristic of race; but despite being mandated, no secondary legislation has been introduced and the addition of caste remains contested by some academics, civil society organizations and politicians who question the adequacy of any definition of caste, the estimates of the extent of caste discrimination, and whether legal protection against caste discrimination already exists under the Equality Act. In this article, we assess whether legal protection against caste discrimination is now assured following the Employment Tribunal judgement in September 2015 in Tirkey v Chandhok & Anor which held that discrimination on grounds of caste, depending on the facts, might be capable of falling within the scope of race as currently defined in the Equality Act. We argue that Tirkey is significant but not decisive and that it remains incumbent on government to extend the Equality Act to cover caste.

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