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Employment and Discrimination
Avoiding Workplace Discrimination Claims
There is legislation to protect employees from being treated unfairly due to race, religion or belief, age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity. The Equality Act 2010 outlaws discrimination on the grounds of any of these ‘protected characteristics’.
As an employer, not only can you be held responsible for direct acts of discrimination towards an employee, but also for any actions of employees towards a co-worker that are deemed discriminatory.
Taking Reasonable Steps
If, however, you can prove that you took reasonable steps to prevent discrimination occurring in your workplace, then you will have a good defence case.
At HCB Solicitors, we work closely with employers to ensure these reasonable steps form part of their everyday HR procedures. Our work includes:
- Drafting and implementing an equality policy
- Advising on monitoring the policy
- Reviewing the policy on a regular basis
- Making employees aware of the policy
- Advising on dealing with complaints under the policy
One of the greatest mistakes employers make is creating an equality policy and thinking their work is done. But it is far from done, and at HCB we make sure that as an employer, you are doing everything possible to avoid workplace discrimination claims and have adequate evidence to back a strong defence should one arise.
Who is Protected from Discrimination?
You need to be on your guard and avoid any action that may be construed as discriminatory not just with existing employees, but also with employment candidates, partners, contractors and agency workers.
So from the moment you advertise for a new member of staff, through to selection, training, promotion and when the employment or contract ceases, the employee is protected from discrimination by law. Taking advice at every stage is therefore crucial.
Types of Workplace Discrimination
There are various types of workplace discrimination to be on your guard against. These include:
- Direct discrimination – treating an employee less favourably due to a protected characteristic
- Indirect discrimination – imposing provisions, criterion or practices that can disadvantage certain people with a protected characteristic
- Harassment – upsetting or hurtful behaviour based upon a protected characteristic
- Victimisation – where someone has helped another pursue a discrimination complaint
Commercially Focused Advice from HCB Solicitors
Workplace discrimination claims can be incredibly costly, but more than this, they can be damaging to a working environment in terms of staff morale. Productivity can be affected. Reputations can be blemished. Taking steps to avoid them is vital and the commercially centred advice you will receive from the specialist discrimination solicitors at HCB will be focused on protecting every aspect of your business.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation to discuss how we can help your business avoid the problems associated with workplace discrimination and discrimination claims. We’re here to protect your business.
Recognised as a specialist employment team. Good, responsive, and the team keep an eye on what the client wants to achieve though a pragmatic approach.
For shoulder-to-shoulder support in all employment law matters and an on-going advisory service that is there when you need it, contact HCB Solicitors for a discussion about your specific needs.