“Insult to democracy and common sense” (Daily Mail, 31 March 2008)
“EU have gone too far Harriet, love” (The Sun, 1 April 2008)
“Chat up bar girl and pub will be fined” (Daily Star, 1 April 2008)
According to the papers, all pub landlords are required to prevent customers from chatting up bar staff or calling them ‘love’ or ‘darling’ and will face unlimited damages if they fail to do so. The Sun blames this on the EU: “[Harriet Harman, the Women and Equalities Minister] has sneaked this new law through without having to bother with parliament because, as you will have guessed, it is the latest rubbish to come out of the EU.” The Mail blasts in its editorial: “Nobody voted for it. It was dreamed up by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels and is now being imposed on Britain without parliamentary debate of division”. The Star is happy to hint at an EU link by stating that “Minister Harriet Harman, 57, has power under the EU to amend discrimination law.”
You’re alright, love. EU rules on equal treatment don’t get into pubs – it’s up to the national authorities, sweetheart, to decide what you can and cannot say in your local. So not to worry, poppet. And we all know, hinny, there’s plenty more nonsense where that one came from!
The aim of EU rules on equal treatment is to protect employees from any forms of discrimination or sexual harassment. However, it is up to the member state to define the specific rules for different places of employment.
Also, in general, the European Commission does not provide legal assessment on individual cases. It is for the national jurisdiction to assess in detail whether discrimination has taken place or not.