Firstly, here's hoping that everyone had a very Merry Christmas; I certainly did, despite the mega amounts of things trying to stress me out this year.
One thing in particular that made me smile I'd like to share with you: it got sneaked in the news late at night on the 23rd, so I nearly missed it, but hip hip hooray and God bless Harriet Harman, she's done it. She's got the equality bill passed. :D
Here's the link for full discussion of what it will mean when the legislature comes into force, but in summation:
1) Banning pay secrecy
2) The definition of harrasment has been extended and consolidated: now defined as "unwanted conduct which has the purpose or effect of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating or hostile environment" which may or may not be related to a "protected" characteristic, such as race, age, gender, sexual orientation etc. It also covers harrasment on the grounds of an employee's connection to a person with a protected characteristic, and harrassment from a third party.
3) Private sector employers will be required to publish information about differences in pay between male and female employees.
4) Employers are allowed to positively discriminate, and take a "protected characteristic" into account when making recruitment or promotion decisions, all other things being equal.
5) Employment tribunals which uphold harrasment or discrimination claims may make recommendations to an organisation to prevent future discrimination.
Awesome. Just Awesome. Best Christmas present this country's had in a long while.