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Equality & Diversity

An employee says she was racially harassed by a senior manager, and submits a lengthy grievance. An ex-employee brings an Employment Tribunal claim, saying he was forced to resign by a colleague who told him his sexual orientation offended his religion.

Your Board asks whether you have conducted an equal pay audit, and if not whether you should. You need to overhaul your diversity policies and training programmes.

Who do you turn to?

Our team has unrivalled strength in depth in advising on all issues related to equality and diversity, which include some of the most important and challenging on the HR and legal agenda today. These include:

  • Employment Tribunal litigation for discrimination based on sex (including equal pay), pregnancy / maternity, race, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment, and associated claims for harassment and victimisation
  • Advice on any issue with an equality / diversity angle, such as handling the exit of a persistent poor performer with a suspected disability, complex grievances, and redundancy dismissals impacting maternity leavers
  • Advice on “family friendly” matters: policies on maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay; requests for flexible working; time off for dependants; and issues around surrogacy and IVF
  • Equal pay is gaining a higher profile, as Tribunals have new powers to order equal pay audits, and mandatory gender pay gap reporting comes into effect. In addition to our experience in dealing with complex equal pay disputes, we help clients conduct equal pay reviews and audits and manage the associated (and significant) legal risks, and can assist in complying with pay gap reporting obligations
  • Our dedicated training team is experienced in conducting manager training on equal opportunities, diversity, family rights and flexible working, and training for all staff on their equality obligations. This can have an exclusively UK focus, or where desired we can make this relevant for cross-border workforces

Related items


Could Black Lives Matter speed up the introduction of ethnicity pay reporting? Rachel Ward and Tom Heys write for People Management

14 July 2020

Rachel Ward and Tom Heys explore whether the renewed pressure to remove societal injustice faced by BAME people could finally mean clarity on this area of legislation.


Lewis Silkin announces pronoun initiative in support of LGBT+ community

30 June 2020

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Race discrimination complaints in the workplace and how to address them

11 June 2020

With Black Lives Matter protests taking place across the UK and around the world, many businesses have been publicly stating their commitment to equality and the BLM movement. But what happens when the experience of current or former BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) employees is alleged not to live up to that standard?


Ethnicity pay reporting – will the government now act?

11 June 2020

The tragic and brutal killing of George Floyd has led to widespread outrage and Black Lives Matter protests across the globe. Governments are facing pressure to remove societal injustice faced by BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) people. Could this mean we will finally get clarity in the UK on ethnicity pay reporting?


Ramadan, coronavirus and the lockdown – how employers can support their staff

22 April 2020

Ramadan is expected to begin on the evening of 23 April 2020 and will last for 30 days, which means that some or all of it will be taking place under the continued lockdown imposed on account of the coronavirus situation. What issues do employers need to be aware of during Ramadan?

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Employer not liable for sexual assaults committed by independent contractor

06 April 2020

The Supreme Court has ruled that Barclays Bank was not vicariously liable for sexual assaults committed by an individual engaged by it as an independent contractor, as the relationship between the organisation and the contractor was not akin to an employment relationship.


Significant new guidance on harassment from the EHRC

22 January 2020

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) has published substantial new guidance on sexual harassment and harassment at work, containing detailed recommendations on steps employers should consider taking to prevent and deal with such behaviour.

Lewis Silkin celebrates First 100 Years

28 November 2019

2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919, which made it possible for women to qualify as barristers or solicitors for the first time.

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