Top tips to prevent gender discrimination in your workplace

QualitySolicitors have produced the following top tips for SME owners to help prevent gender discrimination in the workplace:

Know the law

Spend some time reading up on the discrimination laws to ensure that you and your employees aren’t in violation of anything. An overview is available here.

Enforce a policy

Introduce a zero-tolerance policy around discrimination in the workplace and outline what behaviour is and isn’t allowed along with the consequences if the policy is broken. You should then include this in your employee handbook and ask your staff to sign it to show they adhere to the rules.

Be gender neutral

It’s important that you stay neutral when advertising for a new role. For example, avoid using gender-specific role titles, such as handyman, or anything that suggests age limits, such as young and dynamic.

Avoid making employment decisions on basis of gender

Avoid asking interview questions that discriminate on the basis of gender, as the Equality Act 2010 covers the recruitment process too. These include any topics around pregnancy, family and marital status. If you do ask these types of questions and the interviewee doesn’t get the job they can make a claim against you.

Conduct a pay audit

Conduct a review of the pay received by your staff and address any differences in pay. There may well be acceptable reasons for any gender difference, but it's important to understand why there is a gap so this can be proved. This is important as it was recently announced that companies with over 250 employees will need to reveal their pay gap and publish it on their website. More information can be found here.

Introduce diversity training

It’s essential to train your staff to identify potential discriminatory behaviour and how to take steps to eliminate it effectively. The Equality Act 2010 states that individuals are liable for gender discrimination, as well as companies, making it even more important that everyone is aware of the rules.

Develop a process for complaints

Provide a way that employees can easily report discrimination in the workplace and how to handle the situation. If budget allows, it’s a good idea to employ a human resources professional who is experienced in handling gender discrimination issues.


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