23 September 2010 #Employment
US President Barak Obama has failed at his first attempt to abolish the ban on openly gay individuals serving in the US Armed Forces.
The "don`t ask don`t tell" policy allows homosexuals to serve in the army provided they do not openly reveal their sexuality. If it becomes common knowledge that officers are gay, they may face expulsion.
Obama asked the US Senate to vote on whether to open a debate on a bill, which included a provision allowing the repeal of the ban on openly gay military personnel. Just 56 senators voted in favour of debating the defence authorisation bill, four short of the 60 required.
Despite this setback, the Democrats could still try again later this year to pass the legislation as it was one of President Obama`s key campaign promises.
In the UK it is unlawful for employers, including the armed forces, to discriminate against "employees" based on their sexual orientation (currently under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 and from 1 October 2010 under the Equality Act 2010). The definition of employee is wider than that contained in the Employment Rights Act and includes work under a contract of service or of apprenticeship, or a contract personally to do any work.
For more information regarding sexual orientation discrimination in the UK, Employmentbuddy has guidance notes on the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regs 2003. Please visit www.employmentbuddy.com. A new note on the Equality Act obligations will be comming soon.