The Women and Equalities Committee wants to know if the Equality Act creates an unfair burden on individual people to enforce their right not to be discriminated against.
The committee has launched an inquiry into the enforcement of the Equalities Act 2010 – the framework designed to protect the rights of individuals and advance equal opportunity.
Research by the committee found that individuals are having difficulties enforcing their rights under the act and has therefore questioned the effectiveness of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Previous inquiries from the committee, on maternity discrimination, older people and employment and sexual harassment in the workplace, have all identified problems with enforcement.
Maria Miller MP, chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, said: “This inquiry will provide the opportunity for a more systematic review of the causes and identify possible solutions.
“We want to look at whether the Equality Act creates an unfair burden on individual people to enforce their right not to be discriminated against.
“How easy is it for people to understand and enforce their rights? How effective is enforcement action? Are tribunals accessible and remedies for findings of discrimination effective? Is the EHRC able to do its job properly? Those are just some of the questions we are seeking to answer.”
The committee has already made recommendations to improve the enforcement of the Equality Act, such as extending time limits to bring certain employment cases, ensuring adequate financial penalties are in place, increasing use of powers by the EHRC, and encouraging greater action from regulators to tackle discrimination.
This latest inquiry will focus on what more needs to be done to achieve widespread compliance with the Equality Act 2010 for all those with rights under it.