Reasons to choose Wilson Browne
Jennie Jahina Head of Employment comments on a recent story in the news regarding discrimination in the workplace and highlights the importance of keeping workplace processes and practices under review.
The publication of a recent investigation undertaken by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides a clear reminder to employers of its significant influence and powers when it comes to acts of discrimination. See the full article here.
Whilst it’s well recognised that many claims of discrimination are brought in the traditional court system, the associated complexity and cost can put off many “would be claimants” and so acts of discrimination are able to continue unchallenged. Arguably, some less scrupulous employers even bank on this being so!
However, in the situation concerning Pontins, the EHRC was contacted by an employee ahead of any claim in the courts being made. Following it’s investigation into the alleged discriminatory practices, the EHRC has implemented a number of sanctions that are available to it.
This has in part resulted in a statement that “Britannia Jinky Jersey Limited has agreed to work together with the Equality and Human Rights Commission to further enhance its staff training and procedures in order to further promote equality throughout its business.”
However, it’s possible that in addition to the sanctions applied to date, which will undoubtedly have a significant cost to the business on the basis of negative PR alone, it may be that Pontins finds more traditional legal action follows.
This being down to the fact that the EHRC also has extensive legal powers and can take legal action on behalf of individuals in respect of equality cases.
Given that discrimination can take many forms and comes in many guises, it’s vital employers keep it’s workplace processes and practices under review. Staff training programmes should also include equality refresher sessions so that staff keep up to date with the ongoing changes in this area of the law.
These steps alone should place any business in a better position to respect of any investigation and/or court case regardless of whether that’s with or without EHRC’s involvement.”