FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT HOW THE EQUAL­ITY ACT 2010 WORKS

Computer Arts - - Industry Issues -

You prob­a­bly know the ba­sics: there are nine ‘pro­tected char­ac­ter­is­tics’ on which em­ploy­ers can­not dis­crim­i­nate. Th­ese are age; whether you have a dis­abil­ity; your race; your sex; your sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion; if you are un­der­go­ing gen­der re­as­sign­ment; re­li­gion or be­lief; preg­nancy or ma­ter­nity; and your mar­i­tal sta­tus. But some of the Act’s in­tri­ca­cies are com­plex…

DI­RECT VS IN­DI­RECT

Di­rect dis­crim­i­na­tion seems pretty clear. You can’t, for ex­am­ple, be sacked for com­ing out or for get­ting preg­nant, but ‘in­di­rect’ dis­crim­i­na­tion can also be il­le­gal. An ex­am­ple of this could be dis­ci­plin­ing a per­son be­cause of poor at­ten­dance that’s caused by a dis­abil­ity.

POS­I­TIVE AC­TION

It’s not il­le­gal to pos­i­tively dis­crim­i­nate, but there are a few caveats. You can help un­der-rep­re­sented peo­ple over­come their dis­ad­van­tage by of­fer­ing tar­geted in­tern­ships or place­ments, but when it comes to re­cruit­ment, you can only take a pro­tected char­ac­ter­is­tic into ac­count if can­di­dates are equally qual­i­fied.

EQUAL PAY

If you have two peo­ple of dif­fer­ent gen­ders do­ing sim­i­lar jobs then it’s il­le­gal to pay them dif­fer­ent salaries. And if you want to dis­cuss your salary with other em­ploy­ees in or­der to find out if there’s a pay gap, the Act means your boss can’t take ac­tion. Pay also in­cludes bonuses, and new leg­is­la­tion com­ing in next year re­quires em­ploy­ees with more than 250 staff to re­port their pay gap, in­clud­ing bonuses.

TALK­ING HEALTH

Em­ploy­ers can only ask in­ter­vie­wees about their health for four rea­sons: to es­tab­lish whether they can carry out a func­tion es­sen­tial to the job, to take ‘pos­i­tive ac­tion’ to as­sist dis­abled ap­pli­cants, to con­firm that a can­di­date has a dis­abil­ity if it’s nec­es­sary for the role, or to mon­i­tor di­ver­sity.

MAK­ING AD­JUST­MENTS

If you have a dis­abil­ity, your em­ployer is duty-bound to change their way of work­ing so you can do your job in the same way a non-dis­abled per­son would be able to. This can mean al­lo­cat­ing work to a col­league if your dis­abil­ity means you can’t meet tar­gets, giv­ing you ex­tra breaks, or mak­ing what are called ‘rea­son­able ad­just­ments’ to the of­fice (see page 42 for more info).

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