There has been discussion around the proposed amendment to the Equality Act 2010 and whether this needed to be amended to include expressly that caste is an aspect of the protected characteristic of race. The Government had not yet amended the Act but intended to make the inclusion clear.
The Employment Tribunal in Tirkey v Chandok and another whilst not binding has allowed a claim for caste discrimination to proceed. This is on the basis that the definition of “race” in the Equality Act 2010 includes ethnic origin which the Tribunal felt was wide enough to include caste. Caste discrimination is dictated by birth and as such is descent based. Case law supports the concept that discrimination because of descent in unlawful and constitutes direct race discrimination.
The Tribunal also found that Article 14 of the ECHR concerning freedom from discrimination is wide enough to include caste discrimination as the EC Race Directive outlaws descent-based discrimination.