March 8, 2019
We participated in Solicitors Chat yesterday on Twitter answering questions about gender-balance in the workplace and looking at the law around gender equality and discrimination in the workplace.
Our Trainee Legal Executive, Lucy Watson, was on hand to provide some much needed guidance.
We’ve set out our answers out below.
1. What is The Equality Act 2010 and how does it impact the workplace?
The Equality Act 2010 legally protects people from discrimination in the workplace and the wider society. It replaced previous discrimination legislation to combine it in one Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthen the protection to individuals from being unlawfully discriminated against.
The Equality Act 2010 protects you against discrimination in the workplace at all stages of employment from the recruitment stage.
2. When it comes to gender, what rights do employees have in the workplace?
The Equality Act 2010 protects employees from discrimination, harassment and victimisation because of their sex. Employees have a right to not be discriminated against by colleagues or employers because of their sex. This includes that women have a right to not be paid less than a male colleague in the same role.
3. As Solicitors, have you seen a change in the type or volume of gender discrimination cases clients are coming to you with over the years?
There has been an increase in sex discrimination cases since the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 in our experience. Employees are now willing to more openly voice issues in relation to these matters.
4. What is classed as gender discrimination?
A situation in which someone is treated less favourably because of their sex. This can apply to people who are discriminated against because they are; male or female, an employee associated with someone who is male or female or an employee who is perceived to be male or female.
There are four main types of discrimination within the protected characteristic of sex under the Equality Act 2010 which are: Direct discrimination, Indirect discrimination, Harassment or Victimisation.
5. How can employers make sure they’re acting lawfully when it comes to gender equality?
Fairness in the workplace is a vital part of a successful business. The aim of the Equality Act is to improve equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants. Businesses should have policies in place if these outcomes happen and to prevent discrimination in the workplace.
6. If you think you’ve been discriminated against because of your gender what can you do?
If you feel that you are being treated unfairly or differently at work because of your sex, you can raise a formal grievance with your employer about the behaviour you have been subjected to or raise a claim at the Employment Tribunal for Sex Discrimination.
If you would like any more information with regards to gender equality in the workplace, our team of employment specialists can give you the guidance you require. Book an appointment with one of our Lawyers on 0800 158 4147 or submit a contact form and a member of our team will call you back.