Equality, Diversity & Discrimination

Legal complaints and legal claims in relation to equality, diversity and discrimination can be incredibly damaging to your business. Our employment solicitors can help you put policies in place and deal with complaints to protect your business from the risk of discrimination claims.

The Equality Act 2010 sets out nine characteristics such as age, race, pregnancy and gender that protect people from being discriminated against at work. Your business could face costly tribunal claims if your employees’ conduct, your policies or business practices discriminate against certain employees.

Our employment team can give you practical and clear advice on how to comply with your legal requirements as an employer. We can help you plan ahead by putting the correct policies in place and taking proactive steps to deal with equality and diversity issues before they arise. If they do, our team will help you to manage and resolve any complaints or claims as efficiently as possible to minimise risk.

How Can I Avoid Equality Issues In My Business?

The most common issues you could face are complaints from your employees about differences in treatment or inappropriate behaviour at work.

These could include:

  • Differences in pay, benefits, or paid leave
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Inappropriate language
  • Inappropriate touching
  • An unfair recruitment or promotion decision or process
  • An unfair dismissal without proper reasoning or a proper dismissal process.

Being consistent in how you deal with these issues will make sure your employees know they are valued equally. Our solicitors can advise you on creating or updating your internal policies and guide you to make the right decisions when situations and complaints happen. With a clear plan in place we’ll help you avoid legal claims that could damage your business and reputation.

When Does Equality Legislation Apply?

Equality legislation applies to job applicants, employees, those who are leaving you, former employees, workers (including agency workers) and contractors.

As an employer, manager or HR professional you have certain responsibilities to ensure your employees are treated fairly. These responsibilities are set out in the Equality Act 2010 and it’s important you can demonstrate that your employees are treated equally if you’re faced with a complaint or claim.

What Policies And Procedures Does My Business Need?

You should consider having policies on:

  • Grievances
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Anti-harassment and/or bullying
  • Equal opportunities
  • Family leave (maternity, paternity and adoption rights)
  • Flexible working
  • Whistleblowing.

The best way to inform staff about these policies is through your employees’ contracts of employment. Contracts are where you can set out how complaints and grievances are dealt with and who employees should contact to raise an issue.

You can also include policies, including disciplinary and grievance policies on your company intranet or staff handbook. Having these policies in place will help you avoid legal action and give your employees peace of mind that complaints will be handled properly.

We’ll work with you to advise on what polices would suit your business and its culture. We can evaluate and update any existing policies or create new ones to ensure you’re compliant and are able to deal with future complaints or claims effectively.

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

We can help you comply with equality legislation by:

  • Reviewing, updating or creating employment contracts, policies and staff handbooks
  • Guiding you through any situations or disputes to minimise the risk of a claim
  • Providing training (to groups or individuals) and seminars across the UK to keep you updated on developments in discrimination law and on unconscious bias
  • Facilitating mediation to resolve any dispute
  • Negotiating departures and settlement agreements
  • Representing you at an Employment Tribunal if a claim is made against you
  • Guiding you through the process of a legal claim.

Call us today on 01142 781 629 or contact us online to find out how we can help your business.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Diversity and equality is something we value within our own business. We’ve worked with business owners, HR professionals and directors to implement policies that comply with legislation, to train their staff and to manage situations, to protect the business against costly legal claims.

Our solicitors have the expertise to help you with an immediate issue as well as build a long-term relationship with you to offer advice when you need it. We offer pricing to suit your needs from fixed rates, retainer arrangements or a bank of hours you can purchase upfront.

With offices and employment solicitors across the UK we can help you wherever you’re based. Speak to our team today on 01142 781 629 to talk about your needs and a best way forward.

Case Study - Advice for Business on Harassment Training, Polices and Procedures

We advised a company on how to carry out a disciplinary process for an employee who was accused of harassment at work.

To help the company avoid these issues our team provided anti-harassment training to all staff. We also provided a one-to-one training session with the employee accused of harassment.

After training their staff, we also advised on how the company could improve their policies and procedures to deal with harassment issues better.

Our team were not only able to help the company solve their immediate issue, but we also assisted them with relevant training and policy changes to avoid any problems in future.

Dealing with harassment and discrimination at work can be really hard for employers. It’s important to have solid policies in place to deal with these problems quickly.

The training we give also helps staff understand what’s acceptable and what’s not while at work and I’m grateful we were able to stop this issue becoming serious for our client.

Irwin Mitchell solicitor

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