The Equality Act provides for the legal framework which outlaws acts of workplace discrimination. The Equality Act protects a number of different groups and an employer must not discriminate or infringe the rights of those protected.
Employers must ensure that it does not discriminate on the grounds of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, marriage and civil partnership, gender-reassignment, disability, pregnancy and maternity, and religion or belief.
We have seen a particular increase involving hidden disabilities and neurodiversity issues and we are experts in defending claims and dealing with conflict when it arrives.
The problem faced by many employers is that it is possible to inadvertently act in breach of the Equality Act 2010, without any intention of doing so. An employer can infringe UK labour laws as early as the job advertisement, right the way through to providing a reference for a former employee – and everything in-between. It is critical that businesses are aware of the protection afforded by the Equality Act 2010 in order to avoid discrimination.
Often in claims of unfair dismissal, an employee will also claim that they have been discriminated against as well. However, discrimination is a standalone right and claims can be brought without any qualifying period of employment and without ever being offered a job or receiving an employment contract. Employment tribunal claims can also be brought whilst still in employment. These claims include maternity action plus all other forms of discrimination. We are experts in knowing when to involve ACAS and using the early conciliation period to resolve conflict. As well as ACAS, we have experience of employee mediation when dealing with Equality Act issues.
There are strict rules on when an employer can introduce a settlement agreement if there is an Equality Act 2010 issue.
We provide training on all aspects of workplace discrimination which can reduce future conflicts arising out of the Equality Act. We provide this training to Human Resource professionals, directors, managers and all other employees.