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
The impact of furlough on gender pay gap reporting: Tom Heys writes for workingmums18 January 2021
This year’s gender pay gap figures could be much lower than previous years, but this will be on account of the impact of furlough rather than businesses taking more meaningful action on gender inequality.
Tackling bullying and harassment in a remote working environment: Carolyn Soakell writes for People Management18 January 2021
Inappropriate behaviour that may be obvious in the office may not be as visible when staff are at home, which can make victims feel nervous about speaking out.
Gender pay gap may be skewed by furloughing: Tom Heys comments for The Times04 January 2021
Furloughed workers will be excluded from mandatory gender pay gap reporting next year, which could distort pay disparities between men and women.
Rethinking our definition of bullying and harassment: Lucy Hendley writes for The Law Society Gazette23 December 2020
The way we look at behaviour and management styles in the workplace has shifted in recent years. Some members of our profession will remember a time where it wasn’t considered an issue to shout at a trainee for their poor research memo or criticise a junior lawyer in public. We all knew the partners we had to keep on the good side of and the ones to avoid wherever possible.
Long Covid – what implications does it have for employers?01 December 2020
This article explores the growing phenomenon of “Long Covid” – the continuation of serious symptoms and effects for a significant period after a person’s initial Covid-19 infection and illness. Is disability discrimination law likely to apply in this context and how should employers approach this issue?
The gender pay gap: Tom Heys and Rachel Ward comment in a briefing paper for the House of Commons20 November 2020
This briefing paper provides statistics on the size of the gender pay gap in the UK, looks at some of the reasons why the gender pay gap arises and discusses the duty on large employers to report on the size of the gender pay gap in their workforce.
Counting the cost – Court of Appeal rules that budget considerations can justify indirect discrimination12 November 2020
If an employer has a policy which is indirectly discriminatory and the employer’s aim is no more than saving money, the Court of Appeal has ruled that this cannot justify the discrimination. However, needing to balance the books can potentially be a valid justification for indirect discrimination.
What’s going on with gender pay gap reporting?11 November 2020
The obligation on employers with 250 or more employees to report their last set of gender pay gap statistics was suspended on account of Covid-19, but they now face difficult challenges in preparing the next round of reporting.