Despite the introduction of the 2010 Equality Act, discrimination in British workplaces is still a problem. Recent articles in People Management magazine (published by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) have in the last month featured a number of worrying issues:

  • Men who become fathers are paid almost a quarter more than their childless co-workers – but working mothers receive 11 percent less pay than women without children.
  • 77 percent of women having a baby experienced a negative or discriminatory experience either during their pregnancy, during their maternity leave or upon their return to work.
  • Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) job seekers were up to three times more likely to be unemployed (14 percent) than equally skilled white people (4.5 percent). Furthermore, one in five female BAME job-seekers change their name when applying for jobs out of a fear of discrimination.
  • Young women with vocational qualifications earn 15 percent less than their male counterparts. Men aged between 22 and 30 with vocational qualifications above GCSE level earn an average of £10 per hour, compared with £8.50 for women with the same level of qualification.
  • People of non-ideal weight (overweight or severely underweight) are subjected to discrimination in the workplace and elsewhere, based on attitudinal assumptions and negative inferences. Obese people specifically were found to have greater difficulty getting jobs, were paid less than thinner colleagues and were at greater risk of losing their jobs once in a role.

All employers have a part to play in challenging discrimination which often arises through unconscious bias rather than deliberate intent. By taking the time to consider their own workforce profile and recruitment practices, organisations can ensure that their policies are not discriminatory and provide a fair and engaging work environment for staff.

If you would like any help reviewing your Equality and Diversity policies and practices, contact the York CVS HR Advice Service (charges apply).