The core of equality is fairness, meaning everyone should be treated the same regardless of their individual characteristics. Equality also means equality of opportunity. All businesses are responsible for ensuring nobody is disadvantaged from accessing the same, fair opportunities as their peers.
Diversity is recognising, respecting and celebrating our differences. A diverse working environment will include people from a wide range of backgrounds, identities and mindsets. Workplace diversity enables for an empowered culture for creativity and innovation.
Inclusion in the workplace means creating an environment where all staff feel valued, welcome and safe. Your business must work to ensure all employees feel comfortable to contribute different ideas, raise issues and offer suggestions without the risk of discrimination.
What are protected characteristics
Discrimination on the grounds of a protected characteristic is illegal under the Equality Act 2010. Discrimination can take many forms including direct and indirect discrimination, violence, bullying, harassment and victimisation.
Religion or belief
Pregnancy and materity
Marriage and civil partnership
What are protected characteristics to creating an equal, inclusive and diverse working environment?
Ensure your business better reflects the customers it serves and community in which it is based.
Improve staff morale, motivation and retention.
Find overlooked talent during recruitment drives.
Prevent serious or legal issues arising, including bullying or harassment.
Share ideas, develop problem-solving skills and foster innovation.
Improving Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace
An equal opportunities policy helps employees feel confident that everyone is treated fairly at work. It is also an opportunity to outline the type of behaviour that is expected, guidance about discrimination and extra services in the workplace, such as staff support networks
When developing an equal opportunities policy, it is crucial to consult with a range of employees and representatives, especially those from diverse or underrepresented groups from which your policy intends to support.
It is important to create an action plan outlining the steps your organisation intends to take to ensure the policy is translated into everyday practice.
Systems for getting existing staff onboard, including training
Methods for measuring and monitoring the policy’s effectiveness
Recording and publishing the results
Scheduling dates for policy reviewal and updates
Inclusive advertising of job vacancies, ensuring accessibility and flexibility across all stages of the recruitment process and the use of positive action where necessary.
Senior managers should act as role models for inclusive behaviour and work to create a culture of openness and honesty.
Employers are legally required to offer reasonable adjustments to support disabled employees manage their disability in the workplace.
Allowing flexible working could avoid the risk of discrimination against an employee because of a protected characteristic, such as disability or pregnancy and maternity.
Training managers and senior staff should help raise awareness of why it’s important to value everyone’s differences and how to do this in the workplace.
Redundancy / Dismissal
When dismissing an employee or selecting staff for redundancy, ensure decisions aren’t affected by unconscious bias and protected characteristics.
Equality of pay
Regular checks should ensure all employees doing work have equal pay, benefits and employment contract terms.
Check your workplace dress code does not discriminate against any protected characteristics,
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