The resultant Sex Discrimination Act 1986 has been described as ‘a hodge-podge of measures’ through which the government ‘adopted a “minimalist position”, making the smallest number of changes to comply with European law (Gregory, 161).

Small employers (of five or fewer) were removed from exemption, whilst that of private household was modified. Any collective agreements that were discriminatory were deemed unlawful. Clauses regarding pensions were modified, so that different compulsory retirement ages for men and women were no longer permissible.

The Sex Discrimination (Northern Ireland) Order 1988 imported similar legislative changes into the Province, but after considerable delay.

Further reading

  1. Gregory, Sex, Race and the Law. Legislating for Equality. Sage, 1987.