Employers will be guilty of sex discrimination until proved innocent under new legislation coming in this autumn, according to legal expenses insurer DAS.

DAS sales and marketing manager, Ray Kneeshaw, said: “The Sex Discrimination Burden of Proof Regulations are the first to presume the defendant is in the wrong until they can prove otherwise.

“The new legislation reverses a fundamental principle of British law – innocent until proven guilty.”

Kneeshaw warned that when the existing Sex Discrimination Act was amended on October 12, employers face a huge administrative burden.

“They will have to keep detailed records of everyone who applies for a job and for every promotion within the company.

“Equality laws apply just as much to people who are not even granted an interview as to those who are,” said Kneeshaw.

DAS said businesses seemed to be fearing the worst as it had seen a 20% increase in sales of legal protection cover for employment disputes over the past year.