Reasonable Steps Defence – Equality & Diversity Training

Specialist Human Resources Limited now provides Equality & Diversity Training covering:

– Protected Characteristics;
– Discrimination, Harassment, Victimisation;
– The Difference between Direct Discrimination and Indirect Discrimination (explained);
– Provision, Criterion or Practice (in connection to Indirect Discrimination – explained);
– Employer’s and Employees’ Liability;
– Adverse Treatment on the Grounds of Pregnancy;
– Employer Defence;
– Positive Discrimination;
– Unconscious Bias.

In addition to explaining the law with regard to Discrimination, Harassment & Victimisation, the course provides guidance on how such actions can have a detrimental effect on productivity, employee engagement, innovation and creativity in the workplace.

This training is delivered by a legally qualified consultant who is able to draw on the latest case law reports from both the Employment Tribunal and from Courts of Law.

The cost of Equality & Diversity Training is provided at a fraction of the cost of having to pay compensation to a complainant, together with the associated legal fees, and bearing mind the losses brought about by the detrimental effect on employee engagement, productivity, innovation and creativity that is brought about by discrimination, harassment and victimisation in the workplace.

Specialist Human Resources Limited can also help in the drafting of a comprehensive policy covering all aspects of Equality & Diversity.

If you would like to know more, please contact us on 01522 688869 or email: george.kemish@specialisthumanresources.co.uk

George Kemish, Director of Specialist Human Resources Ltd, explains why the organisation has put together this course.

“I recently highlighted a case where an employer had been found ‘lacking’ when confronted with a claim of harassment and I thought that it would be of value to provide more detail regarding this case.

“The employer put forward a ‘Reasonable Steps Defence’ – based on the fact that there was an Equality & Diversity Policy and that training had been provided to all employees.

“However, the Employment Appeals Tribunal upheld a decision made by the Employment Tribunal that the Equality & Diversity Training was ‘stale’ and that the employer should have picked up on the need to provide refresher training.  In this case the following statement appears in the case report:

‘There might be circumstances in which an employee has undergone training but is contemptuous of it and continues to harass. If the training was of a good standard and the employer was unaware of the continuing harassment, the defence might be made out. However, it appears in this case that [the employee], despite having undergone the training, thought that what he was doing was no more than “banter”.

“That provided some further evidence that the training that was provided had faded from his memory. The Tribunal was also entitled to conclude the fact that managers did not know what to do when they observed harassment, or it was reported to them, suggested that the training had also faded from their memories’.

This highlights the fact that the Employment Tribunal will look at the action taken by line managers as well as that of the perpetrator of the original act.   Whilst the Employment Judge did not provide a timeframe by which refresher training should be provided, he did make this analogy:

‘Considering this matter during the Coronavirus pandemic, as we look forward to widespread vaccination, we are interested not only in whether the vaccine will be effective in eliciting an immune system response, but also how long the response will last. There is an analogy to be made; how effective will training be to prevent harassment, and how long will it last’.

He went on to say: ‘It is not sufficient merely to ask whether there has been training, consideration has to be given to the nature of the training and the extent to which it was likely to be effective’.

As an aside, there were also inconsistencies in the Equality & Diversity Policy that had been provided to the Employment Tribunal as a part of the defence.

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