Proliferation of non-discrimination: problems and possibilities : a study of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation in law and private sector policies and practices

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Malmedie, Lydia
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This interdisciplinary study explores the problems and possibilities for the private sector to proliferate non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation alongside topdown legal rules. With the social working of law approach, non-discrimination law on grounds of sexual orientation is traced through international, regional and national level to the policies and practices of multinational corporations where their interrelationships are examined. The 2000/78/EC Council Directive, as the most concrete and binding instrument with regard to employment and non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation incorporates some factors necessary for being an effective piece of legislation but, as the example of UK transposition shows, falls short of its potential in several areas. The example of two international investment banks illustrates that their policies and practices are in many aspects ahead of legislation, the reason for this being the ‘discovery’ of diversity management. Because the workplace constitutes a strong semi-autonomous social field, the private sector and especially MNCs can play an important role in the proliferation of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Effective EU legislation is needed to prevent regress and to shift the bargaining power and oblige all companies to adopt substantial policies and practices which would ensure a workplace and a society where diversity is valued.
Second semester University: Utrecht University
corporate responsibility, equality, gender discrimination, labour market