HR & Management

How to be equality and diversity compliant in the workplace

3 min read

12 July 2019

Inequality is still prevalent in the workplace despite the existence of equality legislation. What can we do to stop it?

There are two major arguments for having a diverse and inclusive workforce. One is moral and the other, financial.

Business owners must consider the compelling moral case for a diverse and inclusive workplace. This is where everyone is treated equally with dignity and has their fair share of resources. Whether that be access to work or equitable pay.

Why are we talking about diversity and inclusion?

A happy workforce should be more productive and profitable. Organisations must ensure that their people management practices champion this principle. Diversity and inclusion are rising up the agenda in many organisations, and this is a positive move, but the pace of progress towards realising equality of opportunity is painfully slow.

What should businesses be doing differently?

Sadly, profits ultimately drive businesses and companies will seldom place greater importance on other factors, but they should, here’s why:

The financial case for diversity and inclusion

The majority of people would like to believe that moral considerations carry greater weight than financial factors. But in reality, this is not the case.

The example of reporting on the gender pay gap cast a light on issues of inequality in large companies. It emphasised the failings of the structural barriers to progression in organisations for women.

Here are some of the results:

• In terms of an annual bonus, women receive £3,726 whilst men receive £7,496

• Women occupy 35% of senior management roles, compared with men who occupy 65%

This is despite the study finding that companies with more women on the board have:

• 66% higher return on invested capital

• 53% higher return on equity

• 42% higher return on sales

This is evidence that companies should seek to promote women within the workforce. As this can lead to greater profits and productivity.

How to become compliant

How has 2017 impacted diversity in business?

Compliance is key when it comes to diversity and inclusion in business.

The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and in wider society.

Having knowledge of the key provisions can help companies be more compliant and inclusive as a result.

The key provisions of the Equality Act, (1 October 2010)

• The basic framework of protection against direct and indirect discrimination.

This includes harassment and victimisation in services and public functions including premises, work, education, associations, and transport

• Providing protection for people discriminated against because they are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic.

These include age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, and civil partnership, pregnancy, and maternity, race, religion or belief, and sex

Other points to know about…

• Allowing claims for direct gender pay discrimination where there is no actual comparator

• Making pay secrecy clauses unenforceable

• Extending protection in private clubs to sex, religion or belief, pregnancy and maternity, and gender reassignment

• Introducing new powers for employment tribunals to make recommendations which benefit the wider workforce.