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ACAS report increase in discrimination cases

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Individual complaints to employment tribunals about discrimination in the workplace are on the increase. Latest figures from ACAS, the government backed employment relations experts, show a 21% rise last year.

ACAS’s Chief Executive John Taylor said, “While the number of complaints to tribunals for many types of case has levelled off recently, there is still a significant rise in discrimination cases passed to ACAS. This is a worrying trend in today’s increasingly diverse labour market.

“Many of the problems stem from simple lack of knowledge on the part of employers and now we are much better equipped to help them tackle the problem. This summer the expert staff from RREAS, the equality advisory service, have joined us and we have taken over the project management of Equality Direct, the employers’ helpline on equality issues. These moves will enable us to help organisations develop policies that stamp out discrimination and get to the heart of the problem.

“We have always considered equality a very important aspect of good employment relations but now we can deliver a more effective and expert service in this area.”

In 2000/01 there were a total of 17,657 complaints of discrimination on the grounds of sex, race or disability. This compares with 14,543 in 1999/2000. The overall number of complaints was 105,304. Over 70% of cases are settled at the ACAS conciliation stage or withdrawn and do not reach a tribunal.

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