It has been reported that soldiers attending a corporal’s funeral as pallbearers were refused service by a Coventry pub on account of their uniform. Browns Independent Bar, which has a policy of not serving people in uniform, has since apologised. A Facebook page has now been set up, calling for people to boycott the pub on Armed Forces Day (30th June 2012).
This is just another example of the growing issue of armed forces discrimination, a study of which was recently published by Lord Ashcroft, as reported in the Simply-docs blog entry of 28th May 2012. Research carried out by the former Conservative deputy chairman indicated that armed forces personnel – both present and past – potentially suffer discrimination just as any other minority group. But, unlike the case for many other so-called protected characteristics such as sex, race and age, there is no legislation preventing discrimination against members of the armed forces. Politicians from the main political parties are now expected to hold round-table talks with the aim of introducing new anti-discrimination laws for the armed forces. If this goes ahead, it could lead to membership of the armed forces becoming a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010.
Even without the potential introduction of a new protected characteristic, there are plenty of existing discrimination laws of which every responsible employer needs to take account. This downloadable comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes can help you to comply with your responsibilities under the Equality Act 2010 and other equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.