The ISM responds to the Women and Equalities Committee's new report on Enforcing the Equality Act

Today, Tuesday 30 July, the Women and Equalities Committee has published its report, Enforcing the Equality Act: the law and the role of the EHRC after a year-long inquiry.

The report’s main recommendations are:

• Develop a ‘critical mass’ of cases to inform employers and organisations about their legal duties and make adherence to existing equality law a priority for all organisations;
• Move away from relying so heavily on the current model of using individual litigation to create precedents;
• Make obligations on employers, public authorities, and service providers explicit and enforceable;
• Ensure that all who have powers to change the way in which employers, public bodies and service providers operate use their powers to eliminate discrimination and to advance equality;
• The EHRC must refocus its work and be bolder in using its unique enforcement powers.

Deborah Annetts, Chief Executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians said:

‘We welcome this timely report from the Women and Equalities Committee. The report identifies that the individual approach to enforcement of the Equality Act 2010 is not fit for purpose.

Our research, including our report Dignity at Work, revealed a worryingly high level of discriminatory behaviours and practices, including sexual harassment, inappropriate behaviour, and discrimination relating to all nine protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010, in our music sector. The music sector has a high level of self-employed workers which makes them particularly vulnerable as they are afraid of reporting their experiences for fear of victimisation and losing work opportunities.

This fear of reporting must be addressed. We are encouraged by the report’s recommendations that the burden of enforcement must shift away from the individual and that organisations must be obligated to have practices and procedures in place to implement the Equality Act 2010 in the workplace.

However, as stated in our Dignity at Work report, we call on the government to extend the Equality Act 2010 to depping musicians – specifically under section 83(2) of the Act.

We also look forward to the Government’s plans to consult on laws in relation to third party discrimination.’