EHRC inquiry: Racial harassment in higher education

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) have launched an inquiry into ‘Racial Harassment in publicly funded Higher Education Institutions in Great Britain’.  The inquiry is being conducted under section 16 and schedule 2 of the Equality Act 2006. Details of the matters that the inquiry will cover are set out in the ‘terms of reference’.  These are as follows: ‘To understand the types of racial harassment experienced by staff and students at publicly funded Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and where these incidents take place. To understand the extent to which publicly funded HEIs provide routes to redress through which staff and students can report incidents of racial harassment and the extent to which these are available and accessible. To understand what constitutes effective action in response to a report of racial harassment and the extent to which the routes to redress which are available to students and staff in publicly funded HEIs result in effective action. Where the routes to redress through which staff and students in publicly funded HEIs can report racial harassment are not available or accessible, or do not result in effective action, to make recommendations for improvements which will better enable staff and students to obtain redress following an incident of racial harassment at those institutions. To assess whether the statutory and other legal responsibilities Read Full Article…

Pensions: USS interpretation of incapacity

In Universities Superannuation Scheme Ltd v Scragg & Anor [2019] EWHC 51 (Ch), the High Court considered a provision in the scheme rules for the Universities Superannuation Scheme, which allows members to retire before the normal retirement age if they are suffering from ill health or incapacity. In this case, the member was an employee of an HEI.  Prior to his dismissal on grounds of ill health in December 2016, the HEI had assisted the member in an application for ill health early retirement pension.  This included a signed declaration by the HEI that the member was unable to carry out the duties involved in his post ‘due to disability and ill-health’. A medical report completed by the Deputy Director of Human Resources was also provided, which explained that in light of recommendations from an occupational health physician, the HEI was unable to offer any suitable alternative roles for the member.  However, the scheme Trustee rejected the application based on the opinion of a medical panel, which suggested that redundancy/capability/non-medical early retirement were more suitable options in the absence of alternative roles, and that there was scope for improvement in the member’s condition. The member was unsuccessful on appeal, after which he complained to the Pensions Ombudsman.  The question arose as to the construction of rule 15 of the scheme Read Full Article…

Newsletter Issue 99

Data Protection: ICO publishes guidance on GDPR contracts and liabilities; ICO issues guidance on controllers and processors
Employment: Implementation of the Good Work Plan; Sexual harassment at work: Government responds to Committee report; EHRC inquiry: Racial harassment in higher education
Tax, Insurance and Pensions: USS interpretation of incapacity
Charity: Scottish charity law consultation launched
Governance: The Prescription (Scotland) Act 2018 receives Royal Assent
Commercial agreements/Procurement: Public Procurement (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019
FAQ Employment: Can favourable treatment amount to disability discrimination Read Full Article…