Lib Dem peer Baroness Barker condemns New Look discount policy as ‘old fashioned discrimination’

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Liz Barker is the latest politician to criticise retail giant New Look for its discount policy which is possibly in breach of the Equality Act 2010 by “indirectly discriminating” against gay couples.

New Look has confirmed that its staff discount is “under review”, after a PinkNews investigation revealed that its policy which allows a 50% discount to employees, and the same discount to one other person specifically of the opposite sex, could be in breach of the Equality Act 2010.

Despite that New Look specifically stated that the discount was “absolutely not designed to be a couples benefit”, a leading law firm advised PinkNews that the policy may be in breach of the Act by “indirectly discriminating” against people in same-sex couples.

Baroness Barker told PinkNews: “New Look’s policy is old fashioned discrimination. If it doesn’t start including LGBT staff we should get our glad rags elsewhere.”

A New Look spokesperson had responded to PinkNews to say: “At New Look we are committed to listening to our employees to make sure they are being treated fairly and we continually review policies to make sure they match this. In light of recent feedback from our employees on our staff discount privileges we are reviewing our current policy in its entirety and ask for sufficient time to complete this.”

Following comments criticising the policy from Tory Vice Chair Michael Fabricant, Tory MP Mike Freer, Stonewall and Labour Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities Gloria De Piero, the company reiterated that the policy was “under review”, but that “we will not be commenting on the issue further.”

Mark Bramwell, a Solicitor at MyLawyer, a firm providing legal services for customers of Barclays, Natwest and RBS, The AA and Admiral, had advised PinkNews that in his opinion: ”This is clearly indirect discrimination of gay staff and a breach of the Equality Act 2010.”

A former staff member at New Look told PinkNews that he was denied the option to use his staff discount for his boyfriend, saying that he felt “blatantly discriminated” against.