Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation outside the workplace - is it actionable?

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In 1998 the European Court of Justice - in Grant v. South West Trains Ltd (Case C-249/96) [1998] ICR 449) - held that the existing EU sex discrimination legislation did not extend to discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation. Domestic courts have taken the same line with the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. However, since 1st December 2003, discrimination of grounds of sexual orientation has been unlawful in the workplace, under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (‘the Regulations’) 2003 (S.I. 2003/1661, implemented in response to the Framework Directive, 2000/78/EC). Unfortunately, these new Regulations, covering employment matters only, do not correspond fully with the UK’s existing legislative schemes provided by the Sex Discrimination Act, or the Race Relations Act 1976. This is because they do not extend to activities such as the provision of goods, facilities and services; housing, and education. However, in these activities, there are some cases of sexual orientation discrimination that may be argued under the Sex Discrimination Act, the Human Rights Act 1998, or the common law. These possibilities will be explored, sometimes with the help of the Canadian and United States’ experiences.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWeb Journal of Current Legal Issues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2005


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