Employers planning to restrict wearing of religious symbols at work should ensure the restrictions do not put those with religious beliefs at a substantial disadvantage compared to others or, if they do, that they can be justified, following a recent legal ruling.
Employers who subject an employee to detriment for their strongly held views, for example, about the proper and efficient use of public money in the public sector, may be discriminating against them on grounds of 'philosophical belief', following a recent ruling.
Businesses and other organisations will welcome new online resources in plain English from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on how to avoid discrimination when advertising jobs or services.
Discrimination against employees on any grounds other than their ability to do the job is a bad idea — and could also be illegal. If an employee or potential employee brings a discrimination case against your business, you could be tied up in costly and time-consuming legalities for months. If they win, you could be liable for unlimited damages.
Employment law is a complex area that is full of pitfalls. Getting it right means keeping in touch with developments, thinking out your policies and implementing them with care.
Out with the old...
The Equality Act 2010 came into force on 1 October 2010, replacing the need for the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. Employers should make sure that they are aware of the revised laws concerning disability claims in the workplace.
Employers must be mindful of their legal duties on disability
Disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act, and under Schedule 1, cancer is to be treated as an employee disability even where it may not, at any particular stage, have a substantial long-term adverse effect on an employee's ability to undertake normal day-to-day activities.
When will it change?
The accounting profession has a long way to go in attracting, retaining and including both minorities and women. Executives at the top accounting firms all agree that diversity in the profession is far from reaching an acceptable balance — a reality reflected in the numbers.
How can you access the widest possible pool of talent in a culturally diverse community? Kate Horstead considers the benefit of going beyond the requirements of equality laws to make your workplace welcoming to employees from any ethnic, religious or cultural background.
Making your offer more accessible to customers with disabilities will not only keep your firm on the right side of the law, it also makes good business sense.
The Equality Act was rushed through Parliament in the wash-up period of the last Govenment. While the coalition is reviewing the Act's changes to discrimination laws, the first reforms are due to be introduced in October 2010. But what will they mean for small firms?
Equality Act 2010
Full text of the Act as enacted and revised, with explanatory notes. The Act came into force on 1 October 2010 and aims ‘to deliver a simple, modern and accessible framework of discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society’.
The ICAEW Library holds numerous print publications on discrimination law and also subscribes to electronic databases with the complete text of UK legislation. For information on accessing these resources, please contact the Library.
Employers: Preventing discrimination
Guidance from GOV.UK on employers' responsibilities, covering recruitment, pay and discrimination during employment.
The Equality Act: employers' guidance
A collection of guides from the Equality and Human Rights Commission on employers' rights and duties under the Equality Act 2010.
Guidance and a range of practical resources on the Equality Act 2010 from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service.
Diversity and equality (CIPD)
Good practice and guidance on diversity and equality including factsheets, survey reports, research, books and courses from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Make a claim to an employment tribunal
Step-by-step guide to making a claim, produced by GOV.UK.
Diversity and inclusion guide for businesses
Provides tips, best practice examples and a handy checklist for implementing, managing and monitoring D&I initiatives. Produced by the Professional and Business Services Council (PBSC).
UK Equality and Diversity Forum (EDF)
A network of national organisations committed to promoting equality and the elimination of any form of discrimination. The website offers a range of resources for guidance and campaigning.
Reports and surveys
Women on boards
GOV.UK collection of documents relating to women on boards, including the Lord Davies review of 2011 and subsequent reports on progress.
Sex and power
Survey from the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission on women in positions of power and influence. You can access the 2011 survey and results from previous years.
Gender diversity in the boardroom (CIPD)
Survey of the presence of women on boards with recommendations for addressing gender imbalance.
Industrial Cases Reports Express (ICLR)
Free case summaries involving employment law, discrimination and other subjects.
Increasing gender diversity to boost performance (ACCA)
Briefing from ACCA for finance and HR leaders on increasing value through gender diversity. Published 2015.
Inquiry into sex discrimination in the finance sector
Research report from the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission published in March 2009. The study surveys the pay, policies and practices of organisations within the financial services sector.
Global diversity and inclusion: Perceptions, practices and attitudes
Results of a 2008 study by the Economist Intelligence Unit on behalf of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). The study is based on interviews with more than 500 senior executives and aims to 'provide a deeper understanding of diversity and inclusion issues on a global scale, and to offer insights into diversity and inclusion best practices worldwide.' It also looks at the diversity readiness of 47 countries by compiling a Global Diversity Readiness Index.