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Karen Martin and Beverley Ireland-Symonds promote the value of having effective communication skills for individuals, teams and organisations.
Friday, 1 October 2010

How will employment law changes impact on your organisation?

How many UK companies have put strategies in place to deal with the changes to employment law that have come into force from today, 1 October 2010? Very often Equality & Diversity training in organisations is seen as a tick box activity with few managers and employees fully understanding the implications of the legislation and how it impacts on them as an individual and on the organisation.

Below are just a few of the changes that organisations need to consider:

Equality Act 2010

Why do we need new legislation in this area when there are existing laws in place? Well, the existing laws were complex and too many people were still being discriminated against in one way or another, so the Equality Act 2010 aims to simplify the legislation and make it more widely accessible.

Most of the Equality Act 2010 (90%) comes into effect today, and although the act brings together a lot of the existing anti-discrimination legislation, there are some keys areas that could have a major impact on organisations:

• If an employee is harassed by a customer, client or supplier on the grounds of race, sex, religion etc, the employer will now be liable.

• How and when employers can use pre-employment questionnaires will be restricted.

• The introduction of ‘Discrimination arising from Disability’ – greater protection for disabled people.

• Organisations employing 250 people or more must report on any differences in pay between male and female employees.

More detailed information is available from the Equalities Office, and guidance is available from Equality and Human Rights Commission. A ‘quick start’ guide on how the Act changes existing discrimination law is available from ACAS.
Now think about how this is going to impact on your organisation. What training do you need? Do you need to train all your staff? Can you disseminate the information throughout your organisation by adopting a ‘Train-the-Trainer’ approach? How about on-line training modules that employees can complete in their own time?

Whichever approach you decide to take, don’t leave it too late or you may be caught on the wrong side of the new legislation!