In a parliamentary democracy, over a period of time, laws will reflect what the majority of people recognize as being just and fair. In the nineteenth century, that included flogging in the army, navy and prisons, transportation for life for many offences, and the outlawing of trade union activity under the combination laws. All of these laws changed as general public opinion moved against them. No doubt some people regretted the changes, but they had to learn to live with them. Likewise, individuals who disagree with laws outlawing discrimination in specified circumstances must obey them in public, whatever they may think in private.
They add to the variety of skills and experiences available here by comparison with societies where such inflows of people have not happened. If, as a first line manager, you apply such an approach to your everyday duties then you will be going a long way towards meeting the positive intentions of the various laws you will be looking at in this session. One member is physically disabled. List up to four advantages which such a team would have over one which comprised members of a single sex, ethnic group, age group and physical ability level.
This Activity has asked you to consider the positive aspects of managing a diverse team. The factors which you listed could include the following. People from different religions can anticipate sensibilities which may affect the marketability of particular products or services to members of their faiths. Younger people may have greater enthusiasm, sharper physical reactions and willingness to look at different ways of doing things.
Men and women can bring complementary views to bear on opportunities or problems in the design of products.
You may have other ideas, but in principle the Activity should help you think positively about managing diverse teams and the honourable intentions underlying the legislation. He stated that he had been the only Catholic among the staff. For instance legislation to prohibit unfair discrimination on the grounds of age is likely to be introduced by Cases also arise based on claims of unfair discrimination on the grounds of religious belief or political opinion — which is implicit in the spirit of the legislation.
There has been much debate about having all-women lists as candidates for parliamentary seats in order to increase representation by women in the House of Commons and the Government. But positive sex discrimination is not treated as a general principle by the law as it currently stands. Try to make three suggestions. You may have thought of a number of reasons, including the following. There may be underlying causes concerning education and training which need to be eliminated — positive discrimination alone would not address these issues.
Discriminating in favour of one group could discriminate against another group, which the law is also seeking to protect. Unless the person appointed is competent, there could be repercussions concerning general standards of work, safety, employment relations and commercial viability. For example, many jobs demand that their holders fulfil requirements relating to such matters as taste, decency, artistic credibility and the sensibilities of various defined groups.
Activity 10 3 mins Look at the following list of job advertisements and underline those in which you believe an employer could validly argue that a GOQ existed which would disqualify any applicants who did not possess it. In job 1, there is no GOQ because someone from any race, either sex and many disabled people could do the job.
The same applies to job 3. In job 5, a sailor does not have to be Scottish or from any particular race to work on 20 Session B such a ferry. In job 8, men work as gynaecologists and as midwives, so there is no GOQ to prevent their working in a maternity hospital. As far as job 10 is concerned, Santa Claus, with voluminous costume and false beard, could be played by either sex — though no test case has yet come to tribunal, so far as is known.
You could have underlined five jobs, but even some of these could be contentious. A singer applied for the role of a virgin in a Gilbert and Sullivan opera. She was clearly expecting a child and was turned down. Backed by her union, she took her case to a tribunal, claiming unfair discrimination. She lost the case on the grounds that there was a GOQ and her condition clearly made her ineligible for authenticity in the role.
In job 2, it could be argued that on grounds of privacy and decency only a male could do this job in such intimate surroundings — but since men work as nurses in female wards there could be a counter-argument. In job 6, it could be held that only somebody authentically Chinese could do the job, but would the same be true for a restaurant promoting authentic French, Italian or English Food? In regard to job 7, Hamlet is a role written for a man, but it has been played in the past by some famous actresses, including Sarah Bernhardt, who had also lost one leg by the time she played it.
The situation in job 9 has now been clarified. After long debate, the Ministry of Defence has concluded that only men possess the necessary attributes to serve in front line combat situations. As you will have seen, even in the underlined situations, there is some room for debate.
Often, the issues are not clear cut. Some actual or proposed European Directives will be covered later on. These are as follows. The Employment Protection Consolidation Act , the Employment Act and the Social Security Act These give pregnant employees, or those on or returning from maternity leave certain rights relating to pay and jobs. The Equal Pay Act , amended in This requires that men and women in a particular workplace receive equal pay for work which is the same or similar, and for work of equal value.
The Race Relations Act of This prohibits unfair discrimination on grounds relating to race or nationality. The Disability Discrimination Act This prohibits unfair discrimination on grounds relating to disability. Employment Act This gives women returning to work after childbirth to the right to request part-time employment but a woman exercising this right should normally exhaust all internal procedures before taking this to an Employment Tribunal.
There are often a number of Amendments to Acts. Those quoted above are selected on the basis of their relevance here. No one can legally enter into a contract which ignores or sets aside statute law, even if both parties agree to it. Activity 11 3 mins A male nurse discovered that he was being paid less than female colleagues for doing the same job. When he enquired why, he was told that lower rates of pay had been offered to applicants who had been engaged later than the nurses receiving higher pay.
He had signed his contract freely and must work for the rate he had agreed. He discovered that a female nurse was receiving the higher rate even though she had started later than he had. He eventually pursued his case at an Employment Tribunal. Do you think the Tribunal found for or against him? This real case clearly shows the following. You are most likely to come into contact with them if you work in certain sectors, such as agriculture, horticulture and hospitality. Such people may seem attractive to employers as being unable to assert any rights and potentially willing to work for low pay.
If you do nothing, you have become a party to it and in effect are breaking the law yourself. The specific grounds on which discrimination can be unlawful are as follows. It is a daunting array even to practising lawyers, and it would be quite unrealistic to expect you to become an expert in legislation which changes frequently, can be added to by other Acts and Directives, and is subject to interpretation in various courts. This means that the sensible approach for you to take to protect yourself from possible repercussions is as follows.
Other sources of information and advice are provided on page of this workbook. Often their implications cannot be known until test cases have been decided in the courts, and this can take months or even years. The example of the Roman Catholic employee was cited earlier in this session. Under UK law, religious belief is not a legal ground on which to pursue a case through an Employment Tribunal, but eventually he obtained a judgment through the European Court of Human Rights.
It is on this foundation for social legislation that the various European-inspired Directives are built. Some of them are discussed next. More fathers are claiming this as their right. Each case must be looked at on its merits, but if you are handling a request to work more flexibly, it is worth keeping in mind the following Employment Tribunal settlement involving a male car mechanic. When a female employee came to the end of six months maternity leave from her employer, her husband asked his own employer to reduce his hours so that he could take his turn in looking after the baby.
Four female employees in the same company had been granted similar requests. The husband resigned and applied to a Tribunal, alleging sex discrimination. He had clearly received less favourable treatment as a man. The husband was supported by the Equal Opportunities Commission in what they believed was the first but probably not the last case of its kind. Normally the limit is no more than 48 hours a week, or eight hours per night shift, though employees can work longer hours by mutual consent.
Employees in the UK tend to work longer hours than those in other European countries, so the pressure to conform with the maximum periods may increase. If one sex works more hours on average than the other, it is possible that sex discrimination might be claimed to support a reduction. If you work in a sector which has relatively low paid staff you should check with your manager or the human resources department what the present level is. So, for example, it would be illegal to set a pace of work which made it impossible for the worker to achieve a payment rate per hour equivalent to the minimum wage.
The minimum wage could have serious legal implications in organizations where women do a high proportion of the low-paid jobs on a piece work basis, while men do a comparable job at a higher rate not based on piece work. In practice, the advent of this legislation means that employers need to review employment practices, such as advertising jobs with upper or lower age limits. They may also need to look at the way they word equal opportunities policy statements. It is intended that the UK and Northern Ireland will introduce new laws banning discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and religion during The details and potential timings are unclear at the time of going to press, but both would pose very difficult questions as to definitions and enforcement.
You might consider putting contingency plans in place and making sure that you manage within the spirit of the existing law and best practice, which will create the right climate to absorb further legislation if and when it comes. The next activity will ask you to think about such contingencies. It will be interesting for you to see how your suggestions compare with those given on page They may depend on the sector you work in and the working practices which exist, and may have existed for many years.
This whole area is one in which you need to be constantly on your guard. You would be well advised to review the employment practices in your department and try to anticipate any which may fall foul of existing or proposed legislation. Many situations envisaged by the Act are to do with unfair discrimination issues, such as equal pay, terms and conditions of employment, recruitment and selection, and minimum pay.
The Act protects any employee who raises a genuine concern provided that they have an honest and reasonable suspicion that malpractice has occurred, even though it may transpire later that the concern was unfounded. Activity 13 5 mins Look back for a moment at 3. Imagine yourself working for a business which you suspect of employing male staff from one of the proscribed categories. You have raised the issue with your employer but were fobbed off and, in effect, told to mind your own business.
You believe that the staff involved are working for less than the minimum wage and are denying employment to legally qualified female workers who did the job previously. How might PIDA help you if you are still unsatisfied? Discrimination against married people because they are married is also dealt with. The Act applies to part-time as well as full-time employees. The Act also provides that, where men and women are doing different work, they should receive equal pay if an assessment of the total effort, skill and responsibility required for the jobs is the same.
A good way of avoiding the risk of making decisions based on prejudices or subjective criteria is to use objective, recognized job evaluation procedures. Before December the minimum number had been Normally the effect must last for 12 months or more. Reference is made to possible financial help for physical adjustments to the workplace.
The former quota system which you may have come across was abolished in with the advent of the more general requirement not to discriminate against disabled people as defined by the new Act. Green Card holders under the former legislation automatically gained the protection provided by the Act. Some adjustments might be relatively inexpensive, for example providing information in Braille or modifying an office layout to provide more room to manoeuvre wheelchairs. Financing physical adjustments Where more substantial expense is involved, such as the installation of ramps, lifts, new access or emergency egress provisions, each case then needs to be looked at on its merits.
For example, an existing employee who becomes disabled may be so valuable to the organization that relatively large outlay is justifiable. The total resources of the organization can be taken into account not just those of a particular site when assessing what it is reasonable for it to spend, and the smallest employers are of course exempt from the Act. In some cases, financial help may be available from the government or a voluntary body involved in helping those who suffer the particular disability involved.
It is illegal to dismiss a employee solely on the grounds of pregnancy. Answers to the Activity can be found on page Session B 6 Illegal discrimination in detail The various Acts have much in common in the way that they tackle unfair discrimination. She worked for the same manager as her husband. She claimed that the manager effectively demoted her out of spite.
She was backed by her union. Read the following sentences and decide whether each of the activities described would constitute direct discrimination. She fears the applicant would not fit in. The consequences for organizations and individuals will be developed in Session D. Imposing such a condition may simply be a roundabout way of discriminating against a particular group, and that is why it is illegal. For example, imposing a condition that all applicants must be six feet tall or above would plainly discriminate against more women than men, and adding that they should also weigh at least 14 stone would add further to the difficulty for female applicants to comply with the condition.
A female employee applied for such a post. She had been with them for 12 years, but had left for one year to look after her baby before returning. Very few of its staff of Asian or Afro-Caribbean origin worked at these grades. The answers are as follows. Why not nine years, or twelve years? Nevertheless, it could be illegal discrimination. The requirement if applied to both sexes and all ethnic groups would not discriminate indirectly against any particular group since relatively few members of any of them would be able to meet the two essential requirements. This Activity should have made you realize that you may need to look hard at existing or proposed practices in your own workplace to check whether they could be interpreted as illegal indirect discrimination.
Activity 17 3 mins Give two examples of possible evidence of victimization under the antidiscrimination laws. Session B 6. Nonetheless, the pressure itself is contrary to the spirit of the Act. This occurs when an individual or a group of people put pressure on another to discriminate. Examples could include the following. Whatever the reason may be, pressure to discriminate is illegal under the race and sex discrimination laws and can pose a real problem to management at every level, especially if there is a threat of industrial action to back it up, or a more subtle withdrawal of co-operation which might threaten the business.
Unfortunately, while illegal instructions might be in writing, they are more likely to be verbal, so they are more difficult to prove. Either way, such instructions are illegal and both the giver of the instruction and any subordinate who obeys it can be in trouble with the law.
Session D will examine the legal implications for managers at any level who obey an illegal instruction. Activity 19 3 mins Read through the following three incidents and state whether each one is an example of 1 pressure to discriminate or 2 instruction to discriminate. Incident 1 was a clear instruction to discriminate. Incident 2 was pressure to discriminate. Illegal discrimination can be applied in a variety of ways. Knowing what the law demands may make prejudiced people try to get round it in subtle ways, using nods and winks which they know will be taken as instructions but for which no written evidence can be found.
You do need to be wary of such informal policies as well as the more overt ones for, in law, you could be guilty of an offence for following an instruction which is illegal. The practice is generally illegal, though not covered specifically for disabled employees in the Disability Discrimination Act. It may even arise from good intentions, where a manager decides to assign all employees of one ethnic group to one section and those from another group to a different one.
The intention may be to keep people together who are happy working together and may even live in the same communities. Whatever the reason, segregating employees is illegal and is simply another form of discrimination. Some of the situations described may be familiar from your own experience, and others may help you anticipate potentially illegal situations which may arise.
The difficulty about many discriminatory practices is that they can be subtle, and may even be justified by those who practise them as a means to achieving harmonious working relationships, for example by keeping people of the same ethnic origins working together. You need to be on your guard for any form of indirect discrimination to which you may be held to be a party.
You can be personally liable in law even when you are not the instigator but are simply obeying a direct order, going along with existing custom and practice or responding to pressure from an individual or a group simply for the sake of making the hard life of a first line manager just that bit easier. The law relating to unfair discrimination sets out to such practices on a number of specified to members of groups whom it defines as having been previously at work. Discrimination is justifiable where it is carried out because of the need for a.
If you think it has, select the correct name for it from the following list. The correct name for it is b A group of workers is made up of members from two different countries. There are one or two arguments, so the supervisor separates them and makes them work as separate racial groups. The correct name for it is d An employee accuses his work mates of unlawful discrimination. The correct name for it is 8 Name three recent pieces of legislation which could be relevant to illegal discriminatory practices at work 9 Other areas of working life which are being looked at include defining unfair discrimination on the basis of.
Answers to these questions can be found on pages It may have been at work or somewhere else. Unfair treatment, whether or not it is sufficiently serious to involve breaking the law, can leave people feeling depressed and angry. The damage that those kinds of feelings can do to people in your workteam can be enormous. Knowing what the law requires of you is one thing. Now we need to look at ways in which you can ensure that you meet your obligations. The same methods will allow you to create a diverse environment in which you and your workteam can enact a real commitment to equality.
In this session we will try to answer the following question. What should a first line manager do to achieve equality in the workplace? We will need to consider two things. Making the workplace somewhere where everyone really cares about equality, and shows this in their attitudes, behaviour and daily treatment of one another. As we have already seen, first line managers must always be sure that they do not break the law relating to equality and diversity. They must also avoid helping anyone else to commit an unlawful act, because anyone who knowingly aids another to commit an unlawful act of discrimination will share liability for that act.
There is fuller information about penalties for discriminatory offences in the Extensions section. Liability can be individual or vicarious. Vicarious liability simply means that whoever is finally responsible for individuals who commit unlawful acts also has responsibility for those acts. Thus, if employees commit an unlawful act, their employer will also be held responsible. The following rule applies. The employer as well as the individual employee is liable for any unlawful act of discrimination committed by the employee unless it is shown that the employer has taken all reasonable practical steps to prevent discrimination occurring.
Activity 21 5 mins The following is a case of unlawful discrimination. In a workplace, a group of white workers regularly taunted and jeered at an Asian worker, making his life miserable. He then took a case of discrimination to an Industrial Tribunal. The Tribunal found that direct discrimination on grounds of race had occurred.
Who do you think was liable? The white workers? The workers were individually liable because they treated the Asian worker in a less favourable way than they treated other, white workers, without justification. The employer was vicariously liable because the company took no practical steps to make sure that everyone knew and carried out the requirements of the law. What about the team leader? You may have been unsure whether the team leader had any liability. In fact the Tribunal might have decided either way.
If the Tribunal had decided that the team leader was really unaware what was going on because the white workers were careful not to get caught, he would not have been held liable. He could not have claimed ignorance of the law, because ignorance of the law is no defence. The other important point coming out of this case was that the employer kept no records to show why previous Asian workers had left.
Records and up-to-date information should always be available to show exactly what steps have been taken to prevent discrimination in the workplace and to prove how people have been treated at work. What this means is that there should be good procedures and practices covering every personnel process in the workplace.
How many aspects of personnel management can you think of that could be relevant to the law on diversity? Try to think of four more. But how do we ensure that we are treating everybody equally at all stages? The key word is objectivity. They may be selected for: appointment to a job, training, transfer, promotion, redundancy or dismissal. What do you take into account when you select people?
If you think it is possibly relevant, jot down your reason. It is also probably difficult to be totally honest — we are all influenced by our own prejudices. However, someone in a position to make decisions about the selection of other people knows how important objectivity is.
If you admitted that you are influenced for example by appearance, or skills in English, when these things are not really relevant to the job, then you should be congratulated. At least you have acknowledged your own weakness. Most people try to pretend they are always completely objective. Relevant factors are the only ones which should be taken into account when making decisions at work. The checklist itself is based on recommendations from the two Codes of Practice that explain how to avoid discrimination on sex or racial grounds.
These Codes of Practice, also discussed in the extension, are well worth looking at because they provide cheap practical guidance on the subject which is regularly updated. How can we ensure this happens? Training and guidance should be given in these procedures to everyone who has to carry them out, and to everyone who will be affected by them. Checks on policy, procedures and practice should take place regularly.
Corrective action must be taken where checks show it to be necessary. Records must be kept to prove that all reasonable steps have been taken to achieve equality of treatment, and that those steps have been understood and followed. These principles of good practice can be used as a checklist to make sure there is equality of treatment in personnel processes. This new five-point checklist is as follows.
Session C 12 mins Activity 24 In each of the three cases below, use the five-point checklist to decide the steps to be taken. If you feel that an item on the checklist is relevant to the case, describe briefly the action you would take. If an item on the checklist is not relevant to the case, leave it blank. Case 1 In a factory it was found that Asian job applicants had difficulty in communicating easily in interviews, yet usually turned out to be very good workers. What should the personnel officer tackle first, in order to make the selection process work better? Case 2 In one company it was found that Kurds who enquired about jobs were usually rejected out of hand by the telephonists, receptionists and even by the gatekeepers.
You know what women are like — they just come here for a bit of extra money and a good natter with their pals. Now let us consider the answers to each case. Procedures for selection probably need to be changed — perhaps from interviews to tests of some kind. Once new procedures are installed, training and guidance may need to be given on the best way to use them. Procedures should be agreed and no discrimination should be allowed.
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Checks must then be carried out to ensure that the procedures are being followed. Records will need to be analysed to see how many women apply for posts as first line managers, and what was said at the interviews. It will also have to be established what factors were used for selection, what procedures for selection have been agreed and whether these procedures have been followed and staff trained in their operation of them. So, in this last case, all five items on our checklist will need to be used. If you are intending to take this course of action, it might be better to write your answers on separate sheets of paper.
Think of an occasion when you have been able to observe a decision-making process to do with selection of an individual for additional training, employment, promotion or for an opportunity to change roles within your workteam. Ideally it should be an occasion when you were actively involved in making the decision. Once you have settled on a specific case, select two of the stages on the five-point checklist for ensuring equality of treatment in personnel processes and briefly note how things could have been done differently to ensure equality. Is this something which could have applied to the case you have chosen to consider?
Your work notes for this activity will provide you with a useful example of points from the checklist being applied to a genuine decision-making process. You could develop it further by repeating the activity using the three items from the checklist which you have not already used. You could then write up the possible improvements which you have identified as a report, clearly presenting your recommendations for improvements and the reasoning behind them.
We need commitment to diversity — not only for those whom the law protects, but for all groups and individuals. A man was travelling in the Italian Alps in a car with his young son. As he drove along a mountain road, suddenly, without warning, an Alfa Romeo sports car appeared, coming straight at them in the opposite direction. The man swerved to avoid it, and in doing so plunged over the edge of the mountain road.
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The driver of the Alfa Romeo called an ambulance, but it arrived too late to save the driver, who had died instantly. However, although his eight-year old son was badly injured, with multiple fractures and burns, he was still alive. He was rushed unconscious to the accident department of the nearest hospital, where they decided to operate.
My son! People give some very strange answers to this question. Others say the surgeon had made a mistake — it was just someone who looked like his son. Some have even said that the surgeon was a priest! If you wrote that down, take top marks. In our society we have ready-made, deeply held ideas about the sort of jobs women hold. We tend to have standardized, oversimplified mental pictures of many different groups of people and what they are capable of. These mental pictures are called stereotypes. A typical stereotype of a disabled person, for example, is of someone in a wheelchair, unable to do anything useful and needing help to perform the simplest task.
Of course, when we think about it, we realize this is nonsense. This is a problem which is experienced by all of the groups we have discussed in this workbook so far. A volunteer co-ordinator for a charity providing practical support for people with cancer received an application to work as a volunteer from a man who used a wheelchair. The work involved visiting service users in their homes so mobility, including the ability to drive, was very important.
The charity had an equal opportunities policy which the volunteer co-ordinator understood and supported. The volunteer coordinator wondered how best to deal with this particular application. The volunteer co-ordinator had a number of different concerns. She was reluctant to reject the application simply because of the disability. How would you have decided to deal with the application? The real stumbling block which the volunteer co-ordinator came up against was the last point on the list.
It is not an uncommon reaction but is it a reasonable one?
Lots of people can get embarrassed or nervous dealing with people with disabilities. The other reason for nervousness — being afraid of saying the wrong thing — is also based on assumptions. Realistically, the man is unlikely to be upset by the issue of his disability being raised as long as it is done with an open mind. In fact, he is likely to be very used to discussing his abilities and knows more about his own capabilities than anyone else.
The volunteer co-ordinator in our example interviewed the man in the same way that she would have interviewed anybody else. When the volunteer co-ordinator described what the job actually involved, the man replied by explaining how he could achieve those tasks.
For example, the man was allocated a group of service users to visit whose homes were accessible in a wheelchair. The interview was actually fairly straightforward once the volunteer coordinator realized that this applicant was actually very like any other. It can be very difficult to overcome stereotypes and to remember that any person we meet is not necessarily going to fit our assumptions. There is no perfect answer. However, it is worth looking again at your response and asking whether you were basing your decision on any stereotypes. The first point in the five-point checklist — identify the relevant factors — was important in this case.
Case 1 Ganesh Patel, a man of Indian origin, started work in a coffee processing plant. The team leader put another worker of Indian origin, Pritpal Singh Dhillon, to work with Patel to show him the job. Patel came to the team leader a couple of days later and said that he would prefer to work with an Englishman because he would show him how to do the job better than Dhillon would.
The team leader agreed to this, but was puzzled. He supposed Dhillon was reluctant to train Patel in case he worked himself out of a job. Case 2 A man had worked as an accountant for fifteen years. He was very capable and had a first-class record for time keeping and reliability. Unfortunately the firm he was working for closed. They advertised the post and five experienced lumberjacks were invited to be interviewed. When the final candidate, Pat Wilson, walked into the interview room the interview panel reacted by looking slightly confused.
By the time the final question was answered the panel looked entirely uninterested. Pat left feeling sure that the job would go to one of the others. What might make an interview panel react in this way to an applicant who was as skilled and experienced as the other applicants? Dhillon, who had only recently come to the UK from India, spoke Punjabi and his spoken English was not particularly good. So they came from different countries, spoke different languages and had quite different backgrounds.
Communication posed problems for them. This is rarely true. Disability is not the same thing as sickness. In fact, there are a large number of disabled athletes who are extremely fit. The cases we have been looking at show how stereotyping at work can lead to harmful attitudes and to discriminatory behaviour. As a first line manager, you have the chance to take the lead in tackling harmful stereotyping, and the problems of communication and understanding that tend to go with it.
An example of such a policy statement is given in the extension. Stereotyping and discrimination of any kind cannot be got rid of overnight. Generating a real commitment to equality has to be a continuous process. Having a well thought out equal opportunities policy is very important but it is unlikely to make a real difference to attitudes and practices among your workteam unless everyone is aware of it and understands it properly. You have a responsibility to make sure that the policy is not just written down and then forgotten about.
You might consider including the main points of the policy and the reasons why it is important in your next team briefing. We have looked at a lot of cases in which one clear example of discrimination has been identified. Here is a slightly different situation. Sarah Watts worked in the accounts department of a large company. She was the only woman in the department and she shared a large office with five men. The office seemed to most people to have a friendly and jovial atmosphere but Sarah was not happy there.
The men with whom she worked enjoyed a joke; the problem was that a lot of the jokes they enjoyed were about women in general and, sometimes, about Sarah in particular. Occasionally, Sarah thought their jokes were quite funny — more often she felt offended. The men also frequently talked about sex in a way which made Sarah feel uncomfortable. He often joined in with the jokes and he also spoke to Sarah very differently to the way he spoke to the men in the department.
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Before long Sarah felt so unhappy at work that she started to look for employment elsewhere. The conversations about sex which made Sarah feel uncomfortable could easily be seen as sexual harassment. There is no good reason why Sarah should be expected to put up with these things which she did not enjoy — they are not part of the job in an accounts department!
Affection, in its place, can make people feel wonderful but, in this case, it was clearly misplaced. Sarah considered complaining but felt that it would be too difficult. Sarah was in a very awkward situation. You might have thought of a whole range of reasons why complaining could be difficult. Here are three main reasons. Sarah was afraid that if she complained after a particular joke or overly familiar remark then she would be told she was over-reacting. This is a major problem with the kind of inequality which was making Sarah so unhappy.
A stream of minor incidents can do just as much damage as a major one but can be far harder to address. Sarah felt sure that nobody was deliberately making her unhappy. Cases which have been taken to industrial tribunals in the past have detailed years of physical sexual harassment and verbal abuse. First line managers have a responsibility to make sure that a situation like the one we have examined — or worse — does not arise. If action is taken by employees who experience harassment, first line managers who did not attempt to deal with the situation can be considered to share liability.
As a first line manager, you have exactly the same responsibility to all the people in your workteam. A crucial point here is leading by example. Your workteam will take their lead from you, and not practising what you preach could have a serious effect on the way your workteam view you. She was reluctant to approach her first line manager about the problems she had because she was not confident that he would understand and respond in a supportive manner.
Unless people in your workteam are confident that you will respond positively to any problems which they might discuss with you, there is a real danger that they will say nothing and that the problems will get worse without you even realizing they exist. The following reminder list should help you to retain the full confidence of your workteam and to play your part in protecting diversity at work: Explain the main points to everyone in your workteam.
Question your own attitudes and assumptions. Understand the problems facing certain groups at work. Assess people and situations objectively. Lead by example. Influence those in a position to change things. Treat everyone equally. You are the key to an improved outlook on equality in your workteam. We have considered a number of ways in which a first line manager can act to ensure that team members are treated fairly and are respected as individuals.
Now, think carefully about your own workplace and try to come up with a list of practical steps which you can take. The list should contain as many specific actions as possible. To develop this activity further you could carry out each of the actions you have listed and keep a record of their effects. Identify the one false statement below. Answers to these questions can be found on page Install the procedures.
Provide the training and guidance. Carry out regular checks. Maintain the records. Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer does something which effectively makes it impossible for an employee to carry on working for them, for example relocating a disabled employee to a remote location without a car. This figure is subject to review, and does not include legal or other costs.
In , a company director was found guilty by an employment tribunal of sexual harassment against a female employee. She had resigned and claimed constructive dismissal. In an attempt to avoid paying her, the director wound up his company, re-established it in another limited company guise and resumed trading. In , he was found guilty of fraudulent trading and jailed for seven months. Had he not done so, the judge warned him that he would be jailed for 20 months. This case shows that, however ingenious or devious you may be, the law can find ways of pursuing you to an ultimate conviction.
And remember that, if the offender had not behaved so crassly in the first place, the events which landed him eventually in jail would never have been set in train. Financial compensation The tribunal has powers to make an financial award which has a substantial upper limit and to which can be added legal costs and many other expenses. The policeman had been wrongly accused of sending racist hate mail. They would therefore receive their existing benefits in terms of salary, holiday accruals, pension contributions and all other benefits of service.
This would apply even if the employees had been dismissed or had resigned many months previously. If the employer refused to take them back, the Tribunal would increase the alternative award of compensation. Session D 5 mins Activity 32 Describe in your own words what the consequences of being ordered to reinstate an employee might be in your own team.
For the team members. For your employer. Think hard about it — the implications are considerable. For the members of your team the consequences could be possible resentment between them and the reinstated member, re-adjustment to his or her presence, and loss of co-operation with you if they believe that you were in the wrong.
Your employer would have to deal with problems about what to do with any member of staff who had been appointed to replace the reinstated member. The employer would also have to cover the costs of making up lost earnings for the reinstated member, and deal with humiliation and loss of respect from the employees generally. It might even be necessary to make the replacement employee redundant. The implications are widespread and not all directly quantifiable.
For example, loss of respect from a work team can have profound effects on the manager involved. And public humiliation is no laughing matter. Just imagine the feelings of senior managers if they were obliged to make personal apologies to junior employees. It could be into a lower paid job, or one which did not offer benefits such as a company vehicle. Activity 33 At present, a Tribunal cannot compel an employer to reinstate or re-employ a former employee, but it is under consideration for the future. There could be many reasons, but they will probably all have in common the fact that the employee had contributed in some measure to his or her own downfall, for instance by having a poor disciplinary record or having contributed in some way to the incident leading to dismissal.
The re-employment of a former employee can cause as much embarrassment as reinstatement, including problems with re-allocating work and soured working relationships. The employer must also bear the tangible costs, which will have already been borne, of legal fees and costs of attending tribunal hearings.
The law states that an organization is liable for the actions of its managers and employees at all levels. Otherwise no employer could effectively be held responsible for anything that happens at work. A machine has been used in an unsafe condition, with safety systems overridden and guards out of place, leading to a serious injury. It would be very convenient for the management to claim that they did not know what was happening.
But, in law, they cannot do so because the organization is vicariously liable for the actions of its employees. Any individual can have personal liability for instigating, or colluding with an act of illegal discrimination. Look at the following case study, which is based very closely on a real incident that appeared before an Employment Tribunal. Activity 34 5 mins A female employee claimed that sex discrimination was the reason she was selected for redundancy ahead of six male employees with similar service and experience.
She had been the only woman in a department of more than employees. She found the videos offensive and degrading. He told the tribunal that it upset the men to be forced to turn the video 74 Session D off on her account. The employer claimed to be unaware of the videos and said that she was made redundant because the men who were considered for redundancy were better qualified to do the job. The outcome from a Tribunal is never certain but, assuming that the people quoted were telling the truth and all of them were speaking on oath, of course the probable outcomes would be as follows.
Reinstatement would probably be an appropriate remedy but it is questionable whether the employee would want to return to such a hostile environment. A substantial award would probably be made instead. Another factor which the tribunal might have considered is the fact that the employee was the only female in a department of people.
As such, the management might have been expected to take some reasonable positive step to ensure that she did not suffer disadvantage. The award included a sum for hurt feelings. Policy brief , Errico, S. Research paper , Ayliffe, T. Research paper , Livingstone, A. SPF brief , Thibault van Langenhove, Report , Social Protection Department, Other , Belgian coalition of civil society organizations, Legal text , CO.
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