Taking human resources measures to prevent disability discrimination
The Equality Act of 2010 was specifically formulated and introduced by the Government to offer both employers, and their employees, clear and concise guidelines regarding workplace codes of conduct in relation to what are known as protected characteristics. These characteristics include age, disability, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation. Putting health and safety aside, which is governed by its own sets of rules and regulations, workplace contraventions of these protected characteristics are key contributory factors resulting in employment tribunal action, instigated by disgruntled past or present staff against employers.
Many human resources teams within large organisations, and their small business equivalents alike, have been called upon by their management teams to react quickly and empathetically to the stipulations of the Act. However, it is a complex piece of legislation, which many businesses have fallen foul of since it became integral to employment law. Numerous disclosed and undisclosed payouts have been made on grounds of disability discrimination since the Act was passed, costing businesses dearly, both financially and in terms of credibility.
It is alleged that a ‘behind closed doors’ payout of an estimated £1.3 million was made by a City Firm to an employee suffering from a type of autism. The actual facts and figures remained under wraps. However, it is understood that the aggrieved employee agreed to assist with the implementation of human resources policies and in house training sessions based on invisible disabilities, rather than physical ones.
At NorthgateArinso Employer Services, we share our employment law and human resources expertise with a broad variety of clients. Following the Act, many businesses have felt in the dark about what it means to them, and what courses of action they should take. We work both for and alongside them in order to ensure that they understand what constitutes disability discrimination in their workplaces. Furthermore, we guide them through necessary adjustments to their current policies and procedures.
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