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Caste discrimination claims

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The Employment Tribunal in the case of Tirkey v Chandok and another has allowed a claim for caste discrimination to proceed on the basis that the Equality Act 2010 already covers such discrimination.

Caste discrimination is largely thought to be descent based as it is dictated by birth and cannot be changed. The definition of race in the Equality Act 2010 includes ethnic origin and case law supports the proposition that discrimination because of descent is unlawful and as such race is sufficiently wide to include caste discrimination.

The Employment Tribunal went on to find that Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights which sets out the general right to freedom from discrimination is wide enough to include caste discrimination and went on to uphold the claimant’s arguments based on the EC Race Directive which outlaws descent-based discrimination.

This is an interesting development not least of all because the Government had already decided to amend the Equality Act to expressly provide for caste as an aspect of the protected characteristic of race but had not yet done so.

Written by
Edward Aston
11th March 2014