Appearing at the same event, Bryn Harris, the chief legal counsel for the Free Speech Union, said another potential issue when the bill is implemented will be universities arguing that freedom of speech within the law allows them to impose employment policies that can then restrict what academics say.
He agreed the new legislation “may see institutions performing a tightrope walk between compliance with this bill or, if they get it slightly wrong, potentially falling foul of the Equality Act”. But this could be dealt with by the OfS guidance, he said.
There needs to be “interplay” between free speech and HR committees to ensure overall compliance with all legislation, he said, adding that “universities are going to have a lot of work to do.”
Tom Williams, Times Higher Education, 26th April 2023.