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Preventing Discrimination

14 Nov 2019

Despite workplace discrimination being illegal, it still persists. Thousands of people report job discrimination each year, however employers are rarely held accountable.

Discrimination is classed as the unfair and unequal treatment of a person because they possess a particular characteristic or view, these can include :

·      Age

·      Disability

·      Pregnancy and Maternity

·      Race

·      Religion or Belief

·      Sex

·      Sexual Orientation

·      Gender Reassignment

·      Marriage and civil partnership 

The Equality Act brings together the characteristics above under one banner to strengthen the laws around discrimination. As an employer, you need to be proactive in preventing discrimination if you want to stay on the right side of the law, and your employees.

Avoiding discrimination starts before you even employ someone. The job advert shouldn’t discriminate, and it should also avoid using certain terms. These can include ‘office girl’ or 'handyman' as these titles imply that only people of one gender can apply.

In addition, it’s important to avoid terms like ‘20 years experience required’ unless there’s an actual real job requirement, this is because you could be discriminating against someone who hasn’t had the chance to gain experience yet, and this relates to age discrimination.

When interviewing, all candidates should be tested against the same skills or competencies in the same way, with similar types of questions. This is to avoid one candidate being given an advantage above others or to avoid asking questions that may seem too personal.

To avoid discrimination in the workplace, it’s important to take the following steps:

·      Educate your staff about discrimination to make sure they have a good understanding of it.

·      Encourage workers to respect each other’s differences.

·      Respond to any evidence or complaints of inappropriate behaviour.

·      Deal with any complaints of discrimination promptly and confidentially.

·      Create a workplace discrimination policy and have your staff read and sign it upon starting employment.

·      Train supervisors and managers on how to respond to discrimination in an appropriate manner.

·      Review your policy regularly to ensure that its effectiveness is maintained.

Improving workplace understanding of discrimination issues can be a great asset to future success. By hiring people from different backgrounds, you allow your business to flourish as it opens it up to a more diverse environment as well as the ability to attract and retain the most talented staff.