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Employment Law

Equality, Diversity & Discrimination

Legal complaints and legal claims in relation to equality, diversity and discrimination can be incredibly damaging to your business. Our employment solicitors can help you put policies in place and deal with complaints to protect your business from the risk of discrimination claims.

The Equality Act 2010 sets out nine characteristics such as age, race, pregnancy and gender that protect people from being discriminated against at work. Your business could face costly tribunal claims if your employees’ conduct, your policies or business practices discriminate against certain employees.

Our employment team can give you practical and clear advice on how to comply with your legal requirements as an employer. We can help you plan ahead by putting the correct policies in place and taking proactive steps to deal with equality and diversity issues before they arise. If they do, our team will help you to manage and resolve any complaints or claims as efficiently as possible to minimise risk.

How Can I Avoid Equality Issues In My Business?

The most common issues you could face are complaints from your employees about differences in treatment or inappropriate behaviour at work.

These could include:

  • Differences in pay, benefits, or paid leave
  • Harassment and bullying
  • Inappropriate language
  • Inappropriate touching
  • An unfair recruitment or promotion decision or process
  • An unfair dismissal without proper reasoning or a proper dismissal process.

Being consistent in how you deal with these issues will make sure your employees know they are valued equally. Our solicitors can advise you on creating or updating your internal policies and guide you to make the right decisions when situations and complaints happen. With a clear plan in place we’ll help you avoid legal claims that could damage your business and reputation.

When Does Equality Legislation Apply?

Equality legislation applies to job applicants, employees, those who are leaving you, former employees, workers (including agency workers) and contractors.

As an employer, manager or HR professional you have certain responsibilities to ensure your employees are treated fairly. These responsibilities are set out in the Equality Act 2010 and it’s important you can demonstrate that your employees are treated equally if you’re faced with a complaint or claim.

What Policies And Procedures Does My Business Need?

You should consider having policies on:

  • Grievances
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Anti-harassment and/or bullying
  • Equal opportunities
  • Family leave (maternity, paternity and adoption rights)
  • Flexible working
  • Whistleblowing.

The best way to inform staff about these policies is through your employees’ contracts of employment. Contracts are where you can set out how complaints and grievances are dealt with and who employees should contact to raise an issue.

You can also include policies, including disciplinary and grievance policies on your company intranet or staff handbook. Having these policies in place will help you avoid legal action and give your employees peace of mind that complaints will be handled properly.

We’ll work with you to advise on what polices would suit your business and its culture. We can evaluate and update any existing policies or create new ones to ensure you’re compliant and are able to deal with future complaints or claims effectively.

How Can Irwin Mitchell Help?

We can help you comply with equality legislation by:

  • Reviewing, updating or creating employment contracts, policies and staff handbooks
  • Guiding you through any situations or disputes to minimise the risk of a claim
  • Providing training (to groups or individuals) and seminars across the UK to keep you updated on developments in discrimination law and on unconscious bias
  • Facilitating mediation to resolve any dispute
  • Negotiating departures and settlement agreements
  • Representing you at an Employment Tribunal if a claim is made against you
  • Guiding you through the process of a legal claim.

Call us today on 0808 271 2602 or contact us online to find out how we can help your business.

Why Choose Irwin Mitchell?

Diversity and equality is something we value within our own business. We’ve worked with business owners, HR professionals and directors to implement policies that comply with legislation, to train their staff and to manage situations, to protect the business against costly legal claims.

Our solicitors have the expertise to help you with an immediate issue as well as build a long-term relationship with you to offer advice when you need it. We offer pricing to suit your needs from fixed rates, retainer arrangements or a bank of hours you can purchase upfront.

With offices and employment solicitors across the UK we can help you wherever you’re based. Speak to our team today on 0808 271 2602 to talk about your needs and a best way forward.

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We have offices in major cities throughout the UK and our lawyers can arrange to visit you or your business in person if necessary. We also have international capability, with global links to other legal specialists.

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We’re proud of the recognition we’ve received for our business legal work. For a list of awards and accreditations, please visit our awards page.

5th Most Active Mergers & Acquisitions Firm - Experian 2016 Lex 100 legal-500-2019 chambers-2019 The Times Best Law Firms 2019