Equality and diversity
Equality and diversity are not the same thing, although the terms are often used interchangeably. Equality is about treating people with equal respect, and opportunity, to allow people with different backgrounds to operate on a level playing field in the workplace. Diversity is about valuing the differences that people with different skills and backgrounds bring to the workplace. It’s a proactive choice for an organisation to embrace diversity in order to bring in and retain valuable skills and experiences from ‘different’ people.
Equality is – Complying with the law
Diversity is – Valuing the difference
The Equality Act 2010
- Came into force on 1st October 2010
- Harmonised previous ‘equality’ based legislation & extended it further
- Aims to ensure consistency in what employers need to do to make the workplace a fair environment and to comply with the Law
- Introduced nine protected characteristics that employees can use to claim discrimination at an Employment Tribunal. These are:
Employees do not have to declare their protected characteristics at any point in the employment relationship. Therefore, the key is to treat all colleagues on the basis of what they bring to the workplace, rather than what they look like or their personal background.
Employees also have a duty of care. When an employee is being harassed or feels discriminated against, where possible the employee should ask the perpetrator to stop, or at least advise their manager or a member of the HR team. When an employee is aware a colleague is being harassed, and is unable or unwilling to take action themselves, the employee should advise a member of the HR team so the colleague can receive support.
Employers have a duty of care to their employees, and should take all steps that are reasonably practicable to ensure their health, safety and wellbeing. This includes safeguarding against bullying and harassment.
Equality in the workplace is an introductory level eLearning course designed to introduce people to the key principles of the Equality Act 2010 and employer and employee responsibilities in complying with this legislation.