Equality Academy Newsletter October 2011

Carers leave – the business case bottom line

There’s a strong business case for supporting working carers say British Gas. They estimate that their special leave arrangements for carers deliver a bottom-line return of £1 million a year. Estimates suggest three million people combine work with caring, that’s around one in eight workers.

The 30% Club Aim:

To increase female representation on company boards. In the wake of the Lord Davies report a group of company Chairs have committed to increasing their female representation on their boards, they will do this by:

For fuller details of the Davis report and other gender issues click here for our gender special newsletter. We offer tailored specialised gender equality training, please contact us.

Third party harassment – employer found liable

An employment appeals tribunal has held Sheffield City Council was liable for racial harassment of one of its social workers by a child in a residential home because it failed to take adequate steps to deal with the child’s behaviour or provide appropriate support to the employee. This would now come under s. 40 Equality Act 2010 third-party harassment. This is a common issue we come across where employees fail to protect their Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic staff from racist abuse (and similarly sexist, trans and homophobic abuse) despite often having a zero-tolerance policy.

EAT Sheffield City Council v Norouzi

Time off for prayer

A Muslim employee was found to have been indirectly discriminated against as a result of being refused time off for prayers on one occasion by a junior manager at a River Island store as they were under pressure due to staff shortages. The tribunal said that as a large employer they could have had procedures in place to deal with such situations.

Abdulle v River Island Clothing Company case no.2346023/10

Migration Report

An Oxford University Migration Observatory report found approximately

Of those who want the cuts, they want them to come from specific groups of immigrants, and these are often groups over whom the government has limited direct control and which are relatively small in number e.g. asylum seekers. Sixty percent of people thought the most likely reason someone came to the UK was for asylum, overall 56% want a cut in asylum seeker numbers, but (in 2009) only 4% of all migrants were asylum seekers. There is a clearly a lack of balance within, and accurate reporting of the immigration debate, which fuels biased opinions, which, in turn, have consequences for government policy.

English Public Sector Specific Duty Requirements

Despite a statement by Eric Pickles MP that public bodies do not need to complete diversity questionnaires, Baroness Verma, the Government Whip, has emphasised, the specific duties under the Equality Act 2010 strongly require public bodies “to publish information to demonstrate compliance with the equality duty… Case law on the previous duties, which is still relevant, provides useful guidance as to what is required to comply with the equality duty. In brief, public bodies must ensure that they have the right information to hand about equality issues to make informed choices and to ensure that this is rigorously considered before and at the time decisions are taken.”

Sex & Power 2011

The latest Sex and Power EHRC report highlights many issues, one of which is the major barrier to women’s progress to top positions in the public and private sector resulting from outdated and inflexible work patterns. Long working hours combine with the continued unequal division of domestic responsibilities to limit women’s capacity to meet the time and energy requirements of senior positions, while part-time work remains undervalued. Yet those companies that have higher proportions of women in leadership positions perform the best financially (EC 2010).

See our flexible working training package

The Disability Standard – the ten criteria

The Employers Forum on Disability has identified ten key business areas that must be considered in order to meet the needs of disabled people as employees, customers and stakeholders.

1. Commitment: We promote our commitment to best practice on disability, internally and externally.

2. Know-how: We equip our employees so that they are confident interacting with disabled people, knowing what to do and how to do it.

3. Adjustments: We anticipate the needs of disabled people and have a robust process for making any adjustments which might be needed by individuals.

4. Recruitment: We attract and recruit disabled people, which gives us access to the widest talent pool at every level.

5. Retention: We value all our employees, including those who are disabled or who become disabled, and are committed to their retention and development.

6. Products and services: We value our disabled customers, clients and service users and address their needs when developing and delivering our products and services.

7. Suppliers and partners: We expect our suppliers and corporate partners to reflect and enable us to meet our commitment to disability best practice.

8. Communication: When we communicate with disabled people we are as inclusive as possible and whenever necessary we make adjustments for individuals.

9. Premises: Our premises are accessible to people with disabilities and whenever necessary we make adjustments for individuals.

10. Information and communication technology (ICT): Our ICT is accessible and usable by disabled people and we also make adjustments for individuals.”

Requirement to work full-time indirect sex discrimination

An employment tribunal found that a requirement of team leaders at American Airlines to work full-time was disproportionately disadvantageous to women eligible for these jobs during a restructuring. In the absence of evidence relating to the individuals involved, it based its finding of unlawful indirect sex discrimination on the recognition that significantly more women than men have the primary responsibility for childcare. Note: In another case, GE Aviation Systems Ltd was held to be justified in requiring a senior financial manager’s job to be done on a full-time basis because the finance director had set out compelling business reasons why the role needed to be full time.

case nos. 1402910/10, 2329478/10 and 2329546/10

Female executive’s unequal pay

A Chartered Management Institute survey of more than 34,000 managers found that male executives continue to be paid more than women for the same roles, earning an average of £42,441, compared with £31,895 for women.

Do you provide a Health and Social Care service?

Click here for the top ten things you need to know about equality and human rights in CQC’s regulatory role in health and social care. For tailored health and social care equality training, and support, please contact us.

Equal Love – Gay Marriage statement by PM

After many calls by the Equal Love campaign, in his speech at the Conservative conference this year, the prime minister said: ‘I once stood before a Conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man. You applauded me for that. Five years on, we’re consulting on legalising gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.’ See our LGBT awareness training package

Think, Act, Report framework

The government says it has a commitment to develop a fairer and more flexible labour market that draws on the talents of all and builds a stronger economy as part of their growth agenda. The framework sets out the principles that business, unions, voluntary sector and other partners agree to a new voluntary approach to gender equality reporting available to all private and voluntary sector organisations. Participating organisations would be expected to:

1) Think about gender equality;

2) Take action; and

3) Report on narrative measures and