Before you can achieve an equal, diverse and inclusive workplace, it is important to gain an understanding of what inequality can look like and ultimately, the negative effect that it can have on your company culture.
What is inequality?
Inequality continues across society. We know that too many people from a minority background face discrimination and are disadvantaged. Diversity is about recognising that we all have many great things in common, and that we also have many great differences that sets us apart from each other. Inclusion is about ensuring everybody has the same right to equal access to employment, equal pay, and access to training and development, as well as not being discriminated against.
To fully understand inequality, it is essential to be aware of unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is a learned stereotype that is automatic, unintentional, or deeply engrained within our beliefs and can affect our behaviour.
Types of discrimination
If a business is run in an unfair and inequal manner, it is likely that it will come across claims of discrimination. Discrimination can present itself in many different ways and therefore, understanding the main types of discrimination is a good start towards educating your workforce and essentially, knowing what to look out for, should any form of discrimination arise.
This occurs when a person is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic.
This occurs when you are not directly discriminated against however, you are at a disadvantage based on your protected characteristics. For example if a job application requires the applicant to be above 6ft in height, this is indirectly discriminating against women who are likely to be shorter, on average, than men.
Discrimination by association
This is discrimination against a person because they associate with someone who possesses a protected characteristic.
Discrimination by perception
This type of discrimination occurs when a person perceives another person to have a protected characteristic, even if that perception is incorrect.
Harassment occurs when a person is subjected to unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Harassment can be regarded as behaviour that is offensive, frightening or in any way distressing and it is the impact on the individual that is important.
Forms of harassment can include:
- Racial slurs
- Personal insults
- Derogatory jokes and banter
- Offensive or insensitive messages (including email)
- Isolation or non-cooperation and exclusion
- ‘Outing’ someone as transgender
- Asking intrusive questions about someone’s gender identity or transition
- Persistent and/or malicious use of the incorrect pronoun or ‘deadnaming’
What is equality and diversity?
Equality in the workplace means equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants.
If you, as a business owner, provide equal job opportunities throughout your organisation regardless of a persons protected characteristics such as age, sex or race, then you will have built a team that is fair and equal. The issues can arise when businesses do not offer equal opportunities and discriminate against an employee because of their protected characteristics.
Diversity is the range of people in your workforce. Diversity can look different in different industries however, there are some common traits such as people with different ages, religions, ethnicities, people with disabilities, and both men and women operating within the workforce, without prejudice.
What is inclusion?
An inclusive workplace is one where each and every employee feels valued and that they are being listened to. An inclusive workplace is one where employees are encouraged to share their thoughts and to present ideas, regardless of who it may be that they are working with.
Trans equality in the workplace
We are at the forefront of new information and advocates for equality, diversity and inclusion. Whilst we focus on a range of different subjects, we recently recorded a webinar that focussed on transgender equality and how you can support trans employees within your workplace.
The Equality Act has protected trans employees since its introduction of the legislation back in 2010. Whilst there is guidance available via several national public bodies, it remains a topic that can leave employers not knowing how best to approach it in the workplace.
If you are looking to support a trans employee within your business or would like some further guidance on how to handle sensitive situations, we have created a dedicated policy to guide you through the entire process.
If you would like to download our trans and gender equality policy from our HR Document Shop, you can do so here.
Supporting equality, diversity and inclusion amongst your workforce
Equality within the workplace is something that should exist without the need for training however, when you run a business it can be difficult to truly understand how you can ensure that you are attracting and employing a diverse and inclusive workforce.
We have recently developed a brand new policy which takes a deeper look at how business owners and managers can ensure that they are being fair and inclusive, across all areas of their teams.
This document goes one step further than a basic equal opportunity policy (which reflects compliance with the law) by positively encouraging a more diverse workforce.
Our new policy goes further to guide you through exactly what can be deemed as direct and indirect discrimination, as well as harassment, to equip you with the guidance to manage your employees or team members in the most equal, fair, and inclusive manner.
To operate a fully equal, diverse and inclusive team it is important that you gain the knowledge and understanding prior to setting out any criteria or policies.
We currently offer equality, diversity and inclusion training which runs through key topic areas to enhance your understanding of the issues that can be caused within this area, and ultimately how you can plan to avoid them going forward.
All companies pride themselves on being inclusive and promoting equality of treatment, but beyond policies and good intentions, what are the common pitfalls for companies?
This CPD accredited, half day course celebrates equality, diversity and inclusion and highlights the advantage of having a diverse workforce. It also reminds attendees of the, often hard fought for, legislation that underpins the Equality Act 2010, and challenges stereotypes.
It also helps managers to understand that some actions require some lateral thinking to ensure that they are not discriminating against a certain group of staff, even indirectly.
This course aims to challenge our thinking on the subject and leave managers and/or their teams with a better understanding of how equality, inclusion and diversity is so valuable and how to avoid some common mistakes.
Subject areas covered include:
- Defining Equality, Inclusion & Diversity
- Employment Pitfalls
- The Equality Act 2010
- Protected Characteristics
- Who is protected?
- The Company’s Obligations.
Enhance your knowledge today
If you would like to book a place on our next EDI training session, you can do so here.
To download our brand new equality, diversity and inclusion policy, click here.