Whether you employ people or provide services, training in equality and diversity provides a critical level of protection against discrimination claims from your employees or customers by making sure your staff are aware of the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and are aware of the rules.
Since becoming law in October 2010 we've monitored many cases that have been brought under the Equality Act in employment tribunals and the courts. Many such cases reach this stage because the organisation in question hasn't understood that it needs to adhere to the law, has ignored the law or, hasn't made provision in its policies, procedures, business practices and training so that its equality and diversity commitments are clearly communicated and applied.
Let’s be clear, the Equality Act 2010 is Law - It includes organisations of any size and any sector that employ staff or provide services. There are very few exceptions.
We've all seen high profile cases involving professional footballers, sports media presenters, guest house owners and even 2 years on from the Equality Act 2010 becoming law, the media is alive reporting cases on a daily basis.
Our professional consultancy and training services will ensure your organisation puts in place reasonable measures to protect itself from costly discrimination claims – ignorance is no protection and there is no higher or lower limit to claims should they be found in favour of the plaintiff.
Our In the News page is refreshed frequently as we track current cases and issues relating to the Equality Act – this is an excellent and free resource to keep you abreast of what’s happening across the equality & diversity landscape.
Please take a look now and engage with us through the Quick Contact fields to get the process started.
Consider the below articles and think about the effect that a similar judgement would have on your company. Could you afford something like this?
Case Study One
Sussex Police officer wins sex discrimination pay- out
A female firearms officer who won a sex discrimination case against Sussex Police has been awarded £275,000 damages, it has been revealed.
A tribunal in 2007 heard Barbara Lynford suffered sexist behaviour after joining the all-male team at Gatwick Airport in 2002.
Mrs Lynford, who said staff left images of topless women lying around, could also receive £300,000 in compensation.
Sussex Police Authority said it would appeal against the compensation claim.
Solicitor Philip Baker said: "We have lodged an appeal against the decision of the employment tribunal case of Barbara Lynford in relation to the amount of the award.
"We are therefore not in a position to say anything further at this stage."
During the tribunal Mrs Lynford claimed her private mobile phone messages were read.
She also said her boss was openly sexist, officers refused to sit next to her, they ran over her mobile phone in a van the day her mother died and stretched their patrol breaks into hours.
More than 80% of the award is believed to cover lost income and potential earnings.
On Monday, Sussex Police director of human resources Marion Fanthorpe said: "We accept those areas that the tribunal found in favour of Pc Lynford and regret that our support for her fell short of the high personal and professional standards expected of everyone who works for Sussex Police. In the four years that have passed since the tribunal was first submitted, we have addressed the areas that were found against us and we are satisfied that our policies to drive mutual respect in the workplace are working well. They are open to public scrutiny via the force website."
She added: "There have been no other related tribunals in the four years since this incident and Gatwick continues to be a popular place to work for male and female officers alike."
(Courtesy of BBC)
Case study Two
Mr Kamlesh Shah, an Indian former assembly line worker at Honda’s plant in Swindon, won his claim against Honda for race discrimination and constructive dismissal last week. He was awarded in the region of £64,000 by Bristol Employment Tribunal.
The Tribunal decided in July this year, following a 3 day hearing, that Honda had unlawfully racially discriminated against Mr Shah and that Honda’s failure to deal properly with his ensuing grievance eventually led to his resignation. The Tribunal also found that two of the documents Honda used in its defence showed signs of having been altered and one was not in Mr Shah’s handwriting (as it purported to be). The Tribunal went on to find evidence of a 'cover up' on the shop floor by Honda in relation to one of Mr Shah’s claims, that untrained employees were being used to prevent stoppages in the assembly line.
His solicitor, Julia Sohrab, of Bindman & Partners, said: “My client is pleased that he won his claim and grateful that the Tribunal has recognised the seriousness of the impact on him of the race discrimination that he suffered at Honda, which led to him being forced to resign in August 2006.
Honda’s treatment of my client has caused a significant deterioration in his mental health, and he remains unable to work as a result. The Tribunal awarded him in the region of £64,000 and the award will be finalised this week.
My client hopes that, as a result of him bringing and winning these claims, no-one else will have to suffer what he suffered at the hands of Honda. In treating my client as it did, Honda breached not only employment law but also its promises to its workforce about respect for the individual, a positive work environment, equal opportunities for all and a safe and healthy work environment for all”.
Case Study Three
A couple who refused to let a gay couple share a bedroom at their seaside guest house have won permission to take their case to the Supreme Court.
Court of Appeal judges earlier this year dismissed a challenge brought by the couple who run a guest house in Cornwall, against a ruling that they breached equality legislation when they turned away a gay couple.
The appeal court had upheld the January 2011 verdict of Judge Andrew Rutherford at Bristol County Court that Peter and Hazelmary Bull, who run Chymorvah House in Marazion, Cornwall, had directly discriminated against the couple, who were awarded a total of £3,600 damages.
The Supreme Court, the highest court in the land, has now decided to hear the Bull’s case.
Mr Bull, 72, and Mrs Bull, who is in her late 60s, are Christians who regard any sex outside marriage as a ‘sin’.
Consequently, they would not let Martyn Hall and his civil partner Steven Preddy share a double-bedded room.
The Bulls denied that they had discriminated against the couple, arguing that their policy of only allowing married couples to sleep in a double bed, in accordance with their religious beliefs, was applied to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.
They said they had also prevented unmarried heterosexual couples from sharing double rooms since they opened 25 years ago.
In February this year, Sir Andrew Morritt, Chancellor of the High Court, sitting with Lord Justice Hooper and Lady Justice Rafferty, dismissed the case and said the restriction was ‘absolute’ when it came to homosexuals but not heterosexuals.
He said: 'In those circumstances it must constitute discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation. Such discrimination is direct'.
Lady Justice Rafferty said a homosexual couple 'cannot comply with the restriction because each party is of the same sex and therefore cannot marry'.
The Bulls had accepted an £80-a-night double room booking, believing Steven Preddy, 38, would be staying with his wife.
When Mr Preddy arrived with his 46-year-old civil partner Martyn Hall, the men, from Bristol, were told they would not be able to share one room and instead had to sleep separately.