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Tuesday, 18th February 2020




In Britain, the formal approval of the Equality Act on 8th April 2010, heralds a major new step in ensuring that human beings have equal rights across the board, and do not suffer discrimination in the workplace for race, gender, religion&belief, disability, age & sexuality. Empolyers can no longer just tick boxes and hide behind clouds of opaqueness as their actions have to be transparent and accountable. They will be monitored and whereas in the past, individuals who complained were silenced or removed, they will now need to show positive structural changes by Employment Tribunals to stamp out institutional discrimination.

Ethnic professionals can come under a number of discrimination categories at the same time: For example, a Chinese woman employee can be old, have a different belief and be disabled all at the same time. In such cases, discrimination can be suffered at multiple levels, and this is all illegal now. This is good news for minority ethnic employees - their opportunities to get jobs, get promoted, and even reach the top have now got strong legal support.

What employers need to do now is to:

  • Understand the law and its implications, and ensure all managers and above are fully aware of their responsibilities
  • Diversify their leadership, boardroom and governance
  • Take practical steps to monitor their workforce, and even take affirmative action to ensure there is a good cross-section of people in jobs and management positions.
  • Quotas are now coming into areas such as Public Boards, where 50% of members should be women and at least 11% from ethnic minorities.
  •  Be aware that they will lose lucrative public contracts if they cannot demonstrate an equal and fair workplace
  • The common practice of appointing white mono-cultural women to fill diversity quotas will no longer be sufficient - they will need to show ethnic diversity at every level.
  • Most importantly, smart employers should work substantively on the equality agenda rather than out of fear of legislation so that equality practice really benefits the organisation at every level. 
A very well-written GEO report on the implications of the Act for employers is linked below in the Resources section. You are welcome to download it from there.

Article added on 20th April 2010 at 7:53am
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