Equality Academy Newsletter June 2012

Forbes diversity and inclusion

The country index shows that the nations with the most diverse labor forces are Norway, New Zealand, Iceland, Australia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Canada. Norway’s ranking is driven by particularly high levels of gender diversity. The Norwegian government has a gender quota system that requires a certain proportion of women to be on the board of each publicly listed company. Overall the data reveals the power of long-established cultural norms in shaping individual career choices, and that, in turn, affects companies’ global diversity efforts. Concluding that tackling these diversity questions is going to be extremely challenging.http://onforb.es/KPOOe5 

Gender diversity on boards

A survey by Inspire found 92% on boards agree women bring new perspectives to decision making. Executives believe women bring better emotional intelligence as well as high level communication skills; women also have a different approach to risk and greater pragmatism.  http://bit.ly/K6cKQS

EHRC research into ‘The Appointment Process and the Role of Executive Search Firms’ suggests that the appointment of women to FTSE 350-listed non-executive director roles is being held back by selection processes which ultimately favour candidates with similar characteristics to existing male-dominated board members. http://bit.ly/yjcMrE We offer tailored gender equality training & consultancy  http://bit.ly/KxOZxm

Public sector equality duty review

The Coalition Government wants to review the PSED as it has a ‘strong desire to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy where it exists and consider alternatives’. There is to be no statutory Code of Practice on the equality duties, but the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) intends to publish a non-statutory code (we’ll tweet it when it’s out). The Coalition Governemnt also intend to repeal the “third party harassment” clause, although case law will still be in place. The widening of powers of Employment Tribunals will also be reviewed. For Equality Act & Equality Analysis with Engagement training contact us.http://t.co/CsJ3YFgu

Managing an ageing workforce

New CIPD guide: It is predicted that UK employers will need to fill an estimated 13.5 million job vacancies in the next ten years, but only 7 million young people will leave school and college over this period.  Migration alone will not fill this gap – it is important that employers act to safeguard their longer-term economic success by looking at their existing workforce more openly and creatively.http://bit.ly/KPLS0V

Building a fairer Britain: progress

The Government claims that its vision for a strong, modern and fair Britain is built on the principles of equality – equal treatment and equal opportunity. This means building a society where no one is held back because of who they are, or where they come from. Their progress report describes how the new approach to equality is progressing.http://bit.ly/KWnoEL

New Stonewall Equality Act guide

‘The duty to promote equal treatment in the delivery of services to gay people may be new but complying with it need not be complicated or costly. Stonewall’s work with hundreds of organisations has already demonstrated that delivering tailored services that people actually need makes sound economic sense.’ http://www.stonewall.org.uk/documents/

Positive mental health at work

This Acas Guide aims to give managers more confidence in dealing with mental health problems.  It explains how mental health affects an employee’s work, gives the early signs of mental ill health and practical steps that employers can take, for example monitoring workloads and being aware of the physical environment. http://bit.ly/LBCr63

Disabled people and business

‘Closing the employment gap for disabled people’ was identified as one of the top challenges facing society today. This EHRC report explores barriers created by traditional ways of working, and the potential of flexibility and re-configured work to support innovative workplace delivery of the social model of disability. http://bit.ly/L7QgKS

Dynamic cross-cultural competencies and global leadership effectiveness

This study is one of the first to demonstrate how personality and cross-cultural experiences can influence dynamic global leadership competencies and global leadership effectiveness. The researchers concluded that “to be effective, global leaders need high levels of both cultural flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity, and low levels of ethnocentrism required in jobs with complex international and multicultural responsibilities”.http://t.co/1PDSlfMd

Flexible parental leave extends

In the forthcoming Children & Families Bill the Governement intends to reduce the default length of maternity leave from 26 to 18 weeks, and to allow the remaining entitlement to be taken as “flexible parental leave” (APL) available to either parent. APL will allow an employee to take up to 26 weeks’ leave to care for the child, on top of two weeks of ordinary paternity leave. The proposals will also extend the right to request flexible working to all employees. http://bit.ly/JwBv7v

Age, gender & the jobs recession

Older women, as well as men aged over 65, are the only groups to have registered an increase both in the number in work and employment rates since the start of the recession.  Women have seen relatively strong net employment growth in managerial, professional and technical occupations but have done much less well in traditionally feminised occupations. Key to this is women increasingly moving to self employement, up over 16% since 2008 (men only +2%). http://bit.ly/JwCLYe

Gay and bi men’s health survey

Some key findings

See our range of LGBT training http://bit.ly/A8IVSZ

Recent tribunal and supreme court findings

Police disadvantage on grounds of age 

The Supreme Court has held that a West Yorkshire Police requirement for an employee to have a law degree before gaining a pay increment put employees approaching retirement at a particular disadvantage. It meant that employees nearing retirement would not be able to obtain the increment as it would take 4 years to get the degree. http://bit.ly/JIhbN4

Law firm legally retire partner at 65

Another Supreme Court judgment held that a requirement in a partnership deed for partners in a law firm to retire at the age of 65 was justifiable within the Framework Employment Equality Directive. The employer had shown that the aims of the policy fell within recognised categories of legitimate social policy objectives. Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes.

Unfair bonuses

After the introduction of single-status pay systems the notable discrimination between predominantly male and predominantly female groups of employees has been exposed. A tribunal’s finding that bonuses paid to groups of predominantly male employees at Sunderland council cannot be justified because they were no longer linked with productivity was upheld by the court of appeal. The expectation is that employers’ ploys to maintain the gender disparity will gradually reduce.  http://bit.ly/L7Vrdu

False accusation of harassment was itself harassment 

A gay employee at TGI Friday falsely accused of harassment of a colleague was found to have been harassed himself by colleagues who had made the false allegations and encouraged the complainant. Jones v TGI Fridays UK Ltd

Race discrimmination for being English

A female employee who was subjected to unwarranted abuse and criticised for being English and thereby inadequate compared with Polish employees, won her case for race discrimination. Pitman v Harlequin Valet (Cullompton) Ltd

Pregnancy discrimination by inference 

A manager’s behaviour and comments amounted to sex discrimination and harassment of a female employee shortly after he learned she was pregnant. Haynes v Neon Digital Ltd