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Equality and diversity

Equality legislation protects individuals from discrimination on the basis of their age, religion, disability, sex, race, sexual orientation and other protected characteristics. On this page you find articles, books and online resources providing background information and guidance.

What's on this page?

  • Legal Alert
  • Acas guidance
  • Online articles
  • Useful links
  • Articles and books in the Library collection

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Diversity and the accounting profession
(ICAEW, 2017)
New research from ICAEW in partnership with Cardiff Business School and HEC Paris. The report identifies the systemic problems that hold back change, and makes recommendations for breaking down the barriers to diversity in the profession.

Featured article

5 lessons we've learned from gender pay reporting.
Discussion of the issues around implementation of gender pay reporting in the UK as of May 2018 and the 5 things you should do next.

You will need to be logged-in to the website to access this article.

Legal Alert

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

Equality law and human rights


The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has published free guidance on equality and discrimination law, and on human rights, for businesses employing twenty or fewer people. Legal Alert, July 2013.

Discrimination and harassment


The Government is consulting on whether to abolish ’unworkable’ rules under the Equality Act relating to harassment of employees by third parties. Under the rules, employers are liable to their staff for third party harassment where they failed to take reasonable steps to prevent it. Legal Alert, July 2012.

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The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.


These ten sections of the chapter on employment cover discrimination - the Equality Act 2010 replaced all previous discrimination legislation. Discrimination on the basis of: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race; religion and belief; sex; and sexual orientation is outlawed. In addition discrimination against people with criminal records, part-time workers, fixed-term workers and agency workers is also covered.

Developing executive talent: best practices from global leaders

A book for human resources managers and senior executives with responsibility for employee management.

Job evaluation: a guide to achieving equal pay

A good practice guide to job evaluation.

Acas guidance

Advice, guidance and practical resources on a wide variety of recruitment topics for both employers and employees, produced by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, Acas. Acas is the employment relations service for England, Scotland and Wales offering practical, independent and impartial advice to employers, employees and their representatives.

Discrimination: what to do if it happens

Acas October 2015

Acas key guide covering how an employee should raise a complaint of discrimination and how an employer should handle it. Explains the steps involved in raising and receiving complaints, investigating matters raised and how to avoid further allegations of discrimination. The Equality Act 2010 defines nine protected characteristics which it is unlawful to discriminate against: Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Pregnancy and maternity, Race, Religion or belief, Sex and Sexual orientation.

Equality and discrimination


Acas guidance on equality and discrimination in the workplace. A range of practical resources are provided, including key guides, factsheets and a video explaining main types of discrimination and introducing the nine protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010.

Equality and discrimination: Understand the basics

Acas September 2017

Acas key guide outlining the basics of what employers of all sizes and their employees and representatives must do to comply with equality legislation. It provides an overview of how equality legislation applies at work and the nine protected characteristics defined by the Equality Act 2010.

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Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Workplace diversity and inclusion adapts in a time of protests

Finance professionals can boost diversity and inclusion and reduce bias by advocating for change within their organisations. A panel of black accounting and finance professionals discuss cultural sensitivity training, unconscious bias in the workplace and recruitment strategies to encourage diverse candidates.

The power of knowing

Rebecca Pitman explains the importance of understanding unconscious bias and becoming aware of its sources. Recognising our own biases and then working to minimize their impact can help create a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

Social media as a means to diversity

Social media has made it easier than ever for people of diverse backgrounds to connect. It's an opportunity to find commonalities, share experiences, and appreciate new viewpoints. Tanya Thirlwall looks at how accountants can use social media hashtags to connect with others interested in the same topic.

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Useful links


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 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. 

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

Diversity and the accounting profession
New research from ICAEW in partnership with Cardiff Business School and HEC Paris, published in 2017. The report identifies the systemic problems that hold back change, and makes recommendations for breaking down the barriers to diversity in the profession.

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 conducted by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission in 2011, looking at women in positions of power and influence.

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.

Articles and books in the Library collection

To find out how you can borrow books from the Library please see our guide to book loans.

You can obtain copies of articles or extracts of books and reports by post, fax or email through our document supply service.

See also

We also maintain separate web pages on age discrimination, board diversitydisability discrimination, women in business and employment tribunals.

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