As an employer, you are going to be responsible for hiring everyone who goes on to work in your business. On a lot of job advertisements, you see the phrase ‘equal opportunities employer,’ but does this mean what you think? There is more than meets the eye to this phrase, and if you don’t know the ins and outs of what is covered, you might end up getting caught out here. So, to stop this from happening, we are going to discuss what it means to be a true equal opportunities employer.
What Does This Mean?
An equal opportunities employer is one that promises not to discriminate against any employee or someone applying for a job based on age, sex, race, religion, color, nationality or physical and mental disabilities. So, if you are currently not hiring people based on any of the factors that we have named above, then you are not counted as an equal opportunities employer.
You might think that just because you have a few women, or a few people of color working in your business that this will qualify you, but it doesn’t. You can look up online whether your business is going to be subject to the general provisions for this, as it depends on what type of company you have, and how many people are under your employment.
Let’s Look At The Law(s)
There are multiple laws that surround the general idea of an equal opportunities employer. The first one is the Sex Discrimination Act 1984, and this protects people from being discriminated against based on their sex. So, if an applicant is a woman and she is refused a job based on this, the company is breaking the law, meaning that they are in for a lot of trouble.
The other laws that are followed regarding this are, the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Age Discrimination Act 2004, and the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. All of these laws were put in place to protect a particular group of people from having to face discrimination, especially when it comes to applying for jobs. If you do not adhere to these laws when you are going through your hiring process, not only are you not an equal opportunities employer, but you are also breaking the law.
Harassment is the other crucial part of equal opportunity employers. You might think that the buck stops after you hire a certain amount of people from a number of demographics but it doesn’t. You are responsible for any harassment that occurs in your place of employment, and this is known as vicarious liability. If another employee is causing harm or distress to someone else based on discriminatory beliefs, you are ultimately responsible for this.
You need to make sure that you have a zero tolerance policy in place so that nobody feels unsafe in your workplace, no matter who they are.
What Can You Do?
After reading all that information, you might be wondering what you can do to make sure that you are a true equal opportunities employer. Well, there are lots of things. You can make sure that everyone is getting a fair chance no matter what their demographic is. There are a number of schemes such that have been put in place so that certain groups don’t get targeted such as the Ogletree Deakins Women Initiative. This is put in place to aid women in this company to advance in their career and move on to opportunities such as leadership, mentorship, and so much more.
You should be taking reasonable action to make sure that everyone in your workplace is feeling safe. So, you should make an effort to actively monitor your workplace and educate your employees about the responsibilities that they have, as well as having equal opportunity procedures in place that are compulsory for employees to adhere to.
How Does This Benefit Me?
You might not think that having a diverse workforce is going to benefit your business in any way. Well, this is the kind of discriminatory attitude that is going to get your business in trouble. You will find that by having this kind of workforce, you are likely to have a diverse language range, making it easier to communicate with your customers. As well as this, more people will be able to identify with your business, leading them to use your services over someone else’s. There are many opportunities to this, and if you make sure that you are an equal opportunities employer, you will find out what they are.
We hope that after reading this article, you see the importance of making sure that you truly are an equal opportunities employer. If you aren’t currently, we hope that you will use this advice to change your company so that you can become one.