Equality & Diversity – still a difficult formula to resolve for many organisations?

Guest Blog by Chris Pearson of Equality Matters

D=YSince becoming UK Law in October 2010 the Equality Act has received a great deal of press with recognisable discrimination cases in professional and international football, sports media, healthcare, leisure and the police to name but a few.

3 years on, the Equality & Diversity debate is aired daily in TV news reports, newspaper articles, radio broadcasts and it seems that many organisations still haven’t got the message that getting equality and diversity practice wrong damages business, devalues employees, isolates customers and is costly in terms of legal cases and tribunals – and is illegal when discrimination is proven to have occurred.

Whether we view the Equality Act 2010 as “red tape” or “burdensome legislation”, the fact is it is now established as a landmark piece of UK Law for how organisations of any size act with “fairness” in their employment of people and the services they provide – there are very few exceptions to the type of organisation the Law relates.  Prior to the Equality Act we were faced with multiple and disparate pieces of legislation with each stand-alone Act dealing with individual elements or “strands” of equality and diversity. The Equality Act has certainly served the purpose of consolidating, clarifying and stabilising equality and diversity laws into a single more consistent Act – UK Case Law will hone the Act still further to cement it as a truly international benchmark in the global business world.

What we have witnessed over the past 3 years since the Equality Act 2010 became Law is a tangible divide between large organisations and typical SME’s:

Discussions with our many clients have shown that large/corporate businesses generally have the budget and resources to embed equality and diversity “best practice” through training and consultancy and many are seeing the positive effect of this investment right to the bottom line. In comparison, our consultations have highlighted that many SME businesses might have some apathy or ignorance of the Law or, simply don’t have the budget, bandwidth or tools to ensure their businesses are inclusive and avoid discrimination in the employment and the services they offer. Furthermore, we’ve spoken with legal advisors who not surprisingly, confirm that it is typical for a SME type businesses to call on their legal services only at the point when a case of discrimination threatens – it seems to suggest that the SME business sector in particular is rather badly served with comprehensive, affordable, agile and appropriate training packages that can be implemented to understand and apply good equality and diversity.

In addition, we’ve encountered international companies who employ people and provide services in the UK. As such, these companies can often overlook their need to comply with UK Laws and the Equality Act 2010. Cases have been raised against global brands such as Microsoft for failing to comply.

Equality Matters answer to this challenge is to provide organisations with e-learning products so that they can meet their legal obligations in a cost effective and time efficient way. The training, which can be purchased as an online course or  single purchase multi-user/unlimited use DVD-Rom, can be used to train staff individually, in large or small groups for induction or refresher training.

‘The Difference is You’ online course can be viewed on the eLearning Marketplace at:

http://www.elearningmarketplace.co.uk/shop/the-difference-is-you-equality-and-diversity-online-course/

‘The Difference is You’ – Equality and Diversity Course on DVD-ROM can be viewed on the eLearning Marketplace at:

http://www.elearningmarketplace.co.uk/shop/the-difference-is-you-equality-and-diversity-course-on-dvd/

Established in 2002 as a specialist business, Equality Matters provide consultancy and training for organisations large and small to embed equality and diversity in policies, procedures business practices and people development.

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