Creating a working environment that embraces all people free from discrimination, is a continual challenge for employers. As responsible employers, you have a duty to provide equality and diversity in the workplace where employees and customers are treated fairly and equally regardless of colour, race, age, gender or belief and valuing the differences and diversity each individual brings to your business.
What is discrimination?
Discrimination can be direct or indirect. Direct discrimination can involve treating someone less favourably than others due to their certain characteristics. Employees can be discriminated against indirectly in the workplace for example, by the creation of policies that put individuals with certain characteristics at a disadvantage.
How widespread is discrimination?
According to Business in the Community, the gender pay gap is still an issue, with a median full-time difference of 9.4% – for every £1 earned by men, women earn 81p. 16% of Black, Asian and minority ethnic individuals have experienced racial harassment from their managers. Further, UK Government statistics show that 19% of disabled people have been treated unfairly at work, compared to 13% of non-disabled people.
According to ACAS, there are key steps both SMEs and large organisations can take to ensure discrimination is not fostered in their workplace. Implementing a clear Equality and Diversity policy outlining business expectations and acceptable behaviour is critical in creating a successful working environment.
An action plan promoting equality and diversity across the organisation and a system of measuring its impact, should be central to your commitment in addressing inequality and promoting diversity.
What should be included in your Equality and Diversity Policy?
In line with the Equality Act 2010, an effective policy should outline the following 9 protected characteristics; age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion or belief, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. A successful policy should display the organisation’s aims for eradicating prejudice and how to create fair treatment, by creating a positive and supportive environment, providing equal opportunity regardless of characteristics, promote diversity in the workforce and be responsive to changing demographics and work patterns.
Enhancing awareness of the benefits of having a diverse workforce is fundamental. Greater diversity brings new approaches, skills and innovation to your workplace. Flexibility and equality can bring enhanced team spirit, more engaged employees and boost business reputation.
Both employers and employees have a joint responsibility in creating a culture of respect. Training all staff is key step in achieving equality and diversity.
EssentialSkillz offer an Equality and Diversity eLearning Course which explains the importance of the Equality Act 2010 to the workplace and highlights the need to ensure that there is no discrimination in your organisation, regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, or sex and sexual orientation.
As with all our courses the EssentialSkillz Equality and Diversity eLearning course can be tailored to the needs of your organisation, at no additional cost. Your course administrator can update text and other course content using our integrated authoring tool, and link to specific policy documentation, so you can be assured that the principles of your Equality and Diversity Policy will be clearly communicated to your staff.