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Firms urged to review diversity policies


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New regulations outlawing both direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation come into force on 1 December and on Religion or Belief on 2 December.

The CIPD is urging employers to review their equality and diversity policies to include these issues, or they will be vulnerable if complaints are taken against them when the new rights come into force.

CIPD’s Specialist Adviser on Diversity, Dianah Worman, says: “The signs are that organisations are beginning to realise that valuing and managing diversity is about more than legal compliance and a must for remaining economically competitive. Nevertheless there is still a great deal of ignorance about diversity and a lack of appreciation of the benefits it can bring to business. The new regulations, which signal that diversity goes beyond gender, race and disability, should help to gear up action by employers.”

She added: “Fairness is central to success in facing up to the challenges presented by the ‘war for talent’…the need to be smarter at diversity is paramount.”

The CIPD has produced a guide for employers: ‘Tackling Religious Discrimination: An introduction to the law.’ To view a pdf version of this document, click here

The guide makes the following key recommendations to ensure that UK organisations do not fall foul of the law.

  • Ask employees what their requirements are, and where appropriate, whether they would like to set up an advisory body on religion and belief.

  • Review all policies and procedures, from recruitment to appraisal and leave arrangements.

  • Give managers diversity training and provide them with guidelines on how to deal with workplace issues.

  • Ensure that policies cover harassment on the grounds of religion or belief and sexual orientation and that these are drawn to the attention of all employees.

Related items

Feature article: dealing with the religious discrimination regulations

ACAS publishes sexual orientation and religion guides

Employers “unprepared” for new religion, belief and sexual orientation legislation

Asking the unaskable – requesting details on race, religion and disability

Equalities monitoring – is anyone asking a question about either religion and/or sexual orientation?

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