Pressure group promotes workplace rights for gays

The gay rights lobby is to turn its attention to the workplace in its drive to gain equal rights. Pressure group Stonewall is looking for an MP to table a private member’s bill as part of its campaign for equality at work. `We will look at the ballot [for private members bills] to see whose […]

The gay rights lobby is to turn its attention to the workplace in its drive to gain equal rights.

Pressure group Stonewall is looking for an MP to table a private member’s bill as part of its campaign for equality at work.

`We will look at the ballot [for private members bills] to see whose names come up,’ said communications director Mark Watson.

`We need legislation. There is protection on grounds of sex, ethnicity, skin colour and even for transsexuals, but there is no law to prevent discrimination against gay people.’

He acknowledged that the Human Rights Act, to come into force in employment tribunals from October 2000, will offer some potential for protection against discrimination.

But cases will have to be taken through the courts. `That is different from having a separate piece of legislation,’ Watson said.

Four former servicemen and women successfully sued the UK armed forces for dismissal on grounds of sexuality in the European Court. They used the right to privacy in the European Union’s Convention on Human Rights, which forms the basis for the UK’s Human Rights Act.

A spokesman for the Confederation of British Industry said: ` Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation has no place in the workplace. The only acceptable form of discrimination is on the basis of ability.’