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Avoiding Discrimination in the Workplace

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Discrimination and Equality in the Workplace

When running a business, you must ensure that you do not discriminate against employees, potential employees, or your customers.  There are a large number of things to take into consideration in this area, and a number of different ways in which you may inadvertently discriminate against people.

Legally, people must not be discriminated against due to their: age; disability; gender; undergoing or planning to undergo gender reassignment; sexual orientation; being pregnant or having children; marriage status; race or religion.

Equality in the workplace is about promoting and fostering everyone’s right to be different. It is about allowing people to be free from discrimination and having the right to be open about their values and beliefs.

A worker who believes they have experienced unlawful discrimination has a right to make an Employment Tribunal claim.

Defending an Employment Tribunal claim can be lengthy, expensive and draining, and it can have a damaging impact on the reputation of your organisation.

It is likely to be in everyone’s interest to try to put things right before a claim is made to an Employment Tribunal.

If you have good procedures for sorting out complaints about discrimination, you may be able to avoid the person feeling it is necessary to bring a claim against you.

An important factor will be for your workers to be sure that complaints about unlawful discrimination will be taken seriously, even if they are raised less formally, outside your formal grievance procedures, and that something will happen to put the situation right if someone has discriminated unlawfully.

Tell your workers what the options are for bringing unlawful discrimination to your attention, and how to use your procedures, including: discussing the situation informally with you or a manager, and using your formal grievance procedures.

Make it clear what will happen if, after investigating, you find out that someone has discriminated unlawfully against someone else and that disciplinary action will be taken if necessary.  It is also worth considering equality training for yourself and/or people working for you.

For help or advice in dealing with any related issues within your company, please contact us: frenouf@simplehr.co.uk

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