The principle of equality of opportunity in employment is enforced by an ever growing number of laws and regulations.
Discrimination on the grounds of sex, marital status, civil partnership, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief can be direct or indirect. It can also include harassment, bullying or victimisation on any of these grounds.
Consideration of equal opportunities is applicable to all areas of employment and should be borne in mind at every stage of employment. Pay particular attention to:
- The recruitment process.
- Your pay structure.
- Your selection processes for training, transfers and promotion.
- Your selection criteria for redundancy.
- Your procedure for dealing with absence due to illness.
- Your company’s dress code. Do not be so prescriptive (for example banning women from wearing trousers) that you risk a claim of sex, race or religious discrimination.
- Your facilities for disabled people.
- Terms and conditions for fixed term and part time employees which overall should be no less favourable than those offered to comparable permanent employees.
- Your treatment of pregnant employees.
- Policies and benefits that involve the spouses should include non-married partners, same sex partners, civil partners.
- Working practices which might be adjusted to accommodate religious observance, such as prayer at a particular time of day, or dietary requirements.