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Tighten permissive Privacy & Decency Exception (7 2 b II) to the Sex Discrimination Act which is being eroded by Equality/Employment Law

Comment 16th July 2010

 Tighten the Privacy and decency exception to the SDA (SDA exception 7 2 b II) so that it is not over ridden by Equality law by compelling employers to apply a General Occupational Qualification when appointing cleaners/workers in situations involving privacy and decency (single sex designated multicubicle toilets/changing rooms) where people may be  in a state of undress/and or using sanitary facilities unless they can demonstrate alternative failsafe policies which guarantee protection of  the privacy and decency of service users eg structural alterations to fully enclosed, direct access cubicles opening onto a communal area.

The use of knocking/calling out  to signal intent to enter an opposite sex area where people are performing intimate body functions is entirely insufficient and  results in opposite sex workers regularly viewing naked body/parts of service users without their consent.  This inevitably results in embarrassment and dignitary harm and distress to many (including the wokers themselves) and may be perceived as assault,     by people with a history of sexual abuse causing long term relationship and mental health problems.

Developing children may not have the capacity to cope emotionally with such cross sex exposure and 'sexualised' attention which could be considered to constitute a form of subtle sexual abuse and is therefore a child protection/safety issue

 

 

 

Why does this matter?

 

The rights of employees (Equality Law) are being promoted over the rights to privacy and decency of service users in changing areas and public conveniences where opposite sex workers/cleaners (who are not even required to be CRB checked) are being given unrestricted access to facilities (as if they were the same sex) while people are using them (SDA exception 7 2 b II). 

Female cleaners/workers are walking in on men/young boys standing, penis in hand, using open urinals and women and children are finding themselves alone in a state of undress/or using a toilet in female designated toilet/changing rooms/enclosures with male workers  as a result of loopholes in the law which mean there are no obligations on an employer to apply a General Occupational Qualifiaction but there are legal obligations on an employer to ensure equality in recruitment and employment. 

This is lowering standards of morality and causes severe distress and embarrassment and humiliation to many people.  It  raises serious concerns regarding safety and child protection as paedophiles/perverts may easily obtain jobs as cleaners,  or may pose as cleaners to gain access to their prey.  

 Choice about who sees and/or touches our naked body or parts thereof is the only way to avoid the potential to cause or trigger re enactment of feelings of sexual harrassment/abuse and severe dignitary harm and distress to many. 


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