Killjoy or windfall?
Indians heading for Britain next summer should keep their ears peeled when shopping, dining or even simply walking about, as they could be in for a windfall.
If the Equality Act formulated by the previous Labour government is implemented soon, not only will it spell the end of the office joke as some apprehend, it could prove lucrative for canny Indians as it allows people to sue for even perceived offences.
Ostensibly meant to make the workplace more politically correct by giving employees the option to sue if they find direct or oblique comments intimidating, humiliating or degrading, the law can easily have wider applications, promising a windfall for anyone with a keen ear and a handy lawyer.
Under that ‘third party harassment’ clause, if Indians hear something pejorative about, say, curry being bandied about by snooty waiters at a Michelin starred restaurant, they could then, theoretically, go to court demanding damages!
Employers would naturally try to curtail office and workplace banter to prevent a rash of suits in tribunals, taking commerce, business and industry back to the grim days of Victorian censoriousness.
Moreover, not only will the law prevent employers from even asking about the health of prospective employees, if an unsuccessful candidate feels the reason for not making the grade is prejudice against his background, there would be grounds for legal recourse.
Arguably, that could also be used by Indian jobseekers disadvantaged by rules preferring EU nationals: they could always contend that it’s not their nationality that diddled them out of a job but prejudice against their gastronomic and sartorial preferences.
India can obviously do nothing to prevent Britain from hurtling towards fatal political correctness, so Indians on holiday — and Brit-Indians in situ — might as well take full advantage of it!
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