Sex Discrimination in the workplace is common, and is constantly in the news. Recently the BBC released their gender pay gap, this resulted in the entertainment alumni being accused of discrimination. High profile female employees at the BBC have asked for the employer to act now and resolve the gender pay gap. If the BBC fail to respond to the plea it is likely that we will see legal claims being made in the future.
Gender pay gap reporting requires employers with over 250 employees to publish results of gender pay gaps within their business. Employers should be ready to publish by April 2018. From April 2018, we can expect a rise in the claims of sex discrimination from employees whose employers cannot explain pay gaps.
Pay is not the only area where genders are potentially treated less favorable, for example an employer might only offer a bonus to females within their business and not the men, this is direct discrimination.
Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd
Mr Ali’s wife was advised to return to work before the end of her maternity leave because of her mental health, for her to be able to do this Mr Ali made a request to take off the rest of her planned maternity leave under the shared parental leave scheme to become the primary carer for the child. Upon his request Mr Ali was informed that he would receive statutory pay during the period and not the ‘enhanced’ maternity pay that is paid to new mothers. Mr Ali made a claim of direct sex discrimination which was upheld by the employment tribunal. The employment tribunal found that the primary carer of a child is the decision of the parents and Mr Ali had been less favourably treated because of his gender.
Avoiding sex discrimination claims
The first step to ensuring that your business is protecting itself from sex discrimination claims is to have robust equal opportunities policies. These policies should at least cover bullying, harassment, and whistleblowing. Your employees should be familiar with these policies, specifically managers.
Managers need to be trained on how to deal with complaints regarding harassment and how to spot harassment in the workplace. Equality and Discrimination training is suggested for all employees, however just training managers on this subject will be beneficial. This course allows the delegates to work on real like case studies and promotes open and honest discussions. This training will help managers identify and rectify a situation that could result in a claim.
Employers need to get HR right and they need to, now more than ever, with employment tribunal fees deemed unlawful. Previously many claimants of sex discrimination were deterred by the cost.
AHR Consultants, we protect your business.