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9 March 2020

International Women’s Day 2020 – equality in the workplace

International Women’s Day, Sunday 8th March 2020, was a national day which celebrated the achievements of women and aims to eliminate discrimination against women. This year the theme ‘an equal world is an enabled world,’ marks a 'call to action' to increase gender equality. 

Here at Steeles Law, we believe in #EachforEqual. Employment specialist Denise Traube answers some commonly asked questions surrounding equality and discrimination in the workplace along with the steps employers can take to build a gender-equal workplace.

Q1. What is The Equality Act 2010 and how does it impact the workplace?

A1. The Equality Act 2010 amalgamates all of the previous legislation to prevent discrimination. It applies to employers to protect employees from several different forms of discriminatory acts. It also applies in some circumstances to employees in relation to other employees.

There are nine characteristics for which you can be discriminated against with gender being one.

Q2. What is classed as gender discrimination? 

A2. Gender discrimination is treating somebody less favourably or subjecting them to detrimental conditions because of their gender. For example, direct discrimination might involve specific treatment based on a person’s gender whereas indirect discrimination can apply generally to many individuals at once. It is also possible to harass and/or victimise someone on the grounds of their gender.

Q3. If you believe you’ve been discriminated against in your workplace because of your gender, what can you do?

A3.

  • Make a clear note of what has happened, what has been said and by whom. This will ensure you will have something to rely on later and ensure your statements are consistent.
  • Take legal advice to establish whether you have been subject to discrimination.
  •  Alternatively contact ACAS, which is a free advisory and conciliation service who will be able to guide you as to what to do next if you believe you have been discriminated against.

Q4. What are the main things employers can do to build a gender-equal workplace?

A4.

  • An equal opportunities policy should be created. If you have one in place review it regularly and ensure it is kept up to date.
  • Encourage your staff to read the policy and enforce it throughout the workplace.
  • Deal with any grievances raised seriously and promptly.
  • Attend training courses which are designed to help staff understand how to eliminate gender discrimination.

If you would like to speak to a member of the Steeles Law Employment team surrounding equality and discrimination in the workplace along with the steps you can take to build a gender-equal workplace, please call 01603 59800 or complete the ‘Get in touch’ online enquiry form and a member of the team will contact you. Appointments are available in Norwich, Diss and London.

*The information provided in this article is designed to provide useful information on the subject, not to provide specific legal advice.

 

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