Examines employment equity legislation, initially introduced in the UK during the 1970s, along with separate legislation covering sex, race, religion and disability, together with separate enforcement bodies, and separate geographical arrangements in Britain and in Northern Ireland. Notes the role of European Community Law which takes precedence over UK law and increasingly dictates legislation changes. Claims that the period since the 1970s has witnessed growing levels of unemployment, along with a focus on de‐regulation of labour markets. Most British empirical work focuses on explaining earnings differentials using the standard Mincer human capital model with comparative neglect of employment equality issues. The fundamental question is to what extent has employment equity legislation been successful in removing labour market discrimination against minority groups. Uses a cross‐section of data from the 1994 labour force survey to attempt to explain differences in employability across various groups and to analyse the degree of occupational segregation across these same groups which remain after nearly 20 years of experience of employment equity legislation. Reviews the legislation and then estimates first, logit equations to explain employability and second, ordered probit equations to explain occupational attainment, in each case decomposing the results in order to estimate the proportion of the differential which may be explained by “discrimination”.
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