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Equality & Diversity

An employee says she was racially harassed by a senior manager, and submits a lengthy grievance. An ex-employee brings an Employment Tribunal claim, saying he was forced to resign by a colleague who told him his sexual orientation offended his religion.

Your Board asks whether you have conducted an equal pay audit, and if not whether you should. You need to overhaul your diversity policies and training programmes.

Who do you turn to?

Our team has unrivalled strength in depth in advising on all issues related to equality and diversity, which include some of the most important and challenging on the HR and legal agenda today. These include:

  • Employment Tribunal litigation for discrimination based on sex (including equal pay), pregnancy / maternity, race, disability, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or gender reassignment, and associated claims for harassment and victimisation
  • Advice on any issue with an equality / diversity angle, such as handling the exit of a persistent poor performer with a suspected disability, complex grievances, and redundancy dismissals impacting maternity leavers
  • Advice on “family friendly” matters: policies on maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental leave and pay; requests for flexible working; time off for dependants; and issues around surrogacy and IVF
  • Equal pay is gaining a higher profile, as Tribunals have new powers to order equal pay audits, and mandatory gender pay gap reporting comes into effect. In addition to our experience in dealing with complex equal pay disputes, we help clients conduct equal pay reviews and audits and manage the associated (and significant) legal risks, and can assist in complying with pay gap reporting obligations
  • Our dedicated training team is experienced in conducting manager training on equal opportunities, diversity, family rights and flexible working, and training for all staff on their equality obligations. This can have an exclusively UK focus, or where desired we can make this relevant for cross-border workforces

Related items

Related services

Flexible working - the right to ask

03 April 2024

Employees seeking a better balance between the demands of work and personal life may seek a change in their working arrangements – for example, through part-time working, job-sharing or a change in working hours. While there is no right to insist on working in a different way, there is a statutory right to ask for a flexible working arrangement and to have that request seriously considered.

Family rights

02 February 2024

Employees who have parental responsibility for a child are afforded certain legal rights in order to protect and support their role as parents. In this Inbrief, we summarise the basic legal position on maternity and adoption, shared parental leave, paternity leave, parental leave, time off for dependents, carer's leave and flexible working, referred to collectively as “family rights”.

Maternity leave and pay

31 January 2024

The law recognises employees on maternity leave as being particularly vulnerable and gives them special protection. As a result, employers need to be careful to make sure they comply with their legal obligations in this area. This Inbrief summarises the rights that employees on maternity leave enjoy and looks at some common problem areas.

Gender pay gap

Equal Pay

10 January 2024

Equal pay law first developed in the UK in the 1970s after a campaign by trade unions and women's groups. The principle that men and women who do equal work should receive equal pay is implemented through the Equality Act 2010.

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Disability discrimination

09 January 2024

The Equality Act 2010 governs the law relating to unlawful discrimination, including disability discrimination. There are some special protections for disabled people in addition to those which apply to other protected groups, including the duty to make reasonable adjustments. This Inbrief gives an overview of the law in the employment context.

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Redundancy protection to be extended to cover pregnancy and return from family leave

14 December 2023

From 6 April 2024, employees who are pregnant or returning from maternity, adoption or shared parental leave will gain priority status for redeployment opportunities in a redundancy situation. We explain the new rights and implications for employers.

Paul Gillen

Paul Gillen comments on why workplaces must be neurodivergence-aware for the Belfast Telegraph

05 December 2023

While major employers are now actively recruiting people with neurodivergent backgrounds, the number of industrial tribunal cases involving neurodiverse employees has quadrupled in the last four years. Paul Gillen comments for the Belfast Telegraph.

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