13. Diversity and Equal Opportunities-1

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  • 7/28/2019 13. Diversity and Equal Opportunities-1





    Equal opportunities

    Equal opportunities anddiscrimination

    The areas that this subject covers includes:

    Equal opportunities

    Equal pay

    Discrimination on the basis of gender, color, race,disability, sexual orientation, religion and age

    Discrimination can be:





    Direct discrimination

    Occurs when one interested group is treated less

    favorably than another (except for exempted

    cases). It is unlikely that a prospective employer

    will practice direct discrimination unawares

    Sex, race, religion, disability etc

    E.g. a woman might be dismissed when she getsmarried: discrimination on the basis of marital

    status, An individual might be over looked for

    promotion because he has speech impediment:

    discrimination on the basis of disability

    Indirect discrimination

    When certain requirements are imposed withwhich certain interested groups could not comply

    Occurs when a policy or practice is fair in form, butdiscriminatory in operation: for example, ifrequirements or conditions are imposed, withwhich a substantial proportion of the interestedgroup cannot comply, to their detriment

    For example an organization expects all itsmanagers to work long hours and at weekends isprobably discriminating against woman becausemany women than men have familyresponsibilities that prevents them from workinglonger hours consistently

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    Occurs when a person is penalized for giving

    information or taking action in pursuit of a

    claim of discrimination (giving evidence on

    discrimination cases)

    The individual is therefore ignored for training

    and promotion opportunities because of

    his/her act of betrayal or whistle-blowing


    The use of threatening, intimidatory, offensive

    or abusive language or behavior

    Equal opportunities

    Equal opportunities means ensure individuals aretreated fairly in the employment process. In otherwords everyone has the right to be treated fairly atwork. Equal chances for everyone

    Equal opportunities employment exists when there isno unfair discrimination (against gender, color, ethnicorigin, disability, orientation, religion and age) inrelation to:

    access to jobs; employment terms and conditions;

    promotion prospects;

    training opportunities;

    remuneration; or

    termination of employment

    The idea of equal opportunity is also that

    employers should discriminate between

    employees and applicants for jobs only on the

    basis of:




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    Discrimination of certain types is illegal in the

    UK on grounds of:

    Sex and marital status

    Color, race, nationality and ethnic or national



    Sexual orientation and religious beliefs



    In many countries, this is enforced by

    legislation. For example in the UK there are:

    Equal Pay Act

    Disability Discrimination Act

    Race Relations Act.

    Employment Discrimination Laws

    Equal Pay Act of 1963

    The act requiring equal pay for equal work, regardlessof sex.

    Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967(ADEA)

    The act prohibiting arbitrary age discrimination and

    specifically protecting individuals over 40 years old. Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973

    The act requiring certain federal contractors to takeaffirmative action for disabled persons.

    Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Act of


    An act requiring that employees with government

    contracts take affirmative action to hire disabled


    Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) of 1978

    A Title VII amendment that prohibits sex

    discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or

    related medical conditions.

    If an employer offers its employees disability coverage,

    then it must treat pregnancy and childbirth like any other

    disability, and include it in the plan as a covered


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    Equal pay

    Under such legislation any person is entitled

    to the same remuneration and conditions of

    service as another who:

    is doing similar work; or

    work which is of a similar value as judged under a

    job evaluation exercise.

    Sex discrimination

    Basically it is illegal to discriminate within the

    workplace on the basis of sex (gender) in the

    areas of recruitment, job selection, terms

    and conditions of employment, training,

    promotion and pay (including the form of

    fringe benefits and redundancy pay and


    Sexual harassment

    Asking or forcing an employee to performsexual favors in exchange for some reward orto avoid negative consequences


    unwelcome sexual advances

    requests for sexual favors, and other

    verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature

    Can be:




    Sexual orientation/religious beliefs

    Employers cannot discriminate on the basis of

    an individuals sexual orientation or religion.

    Employers can be held responsible for

    conduct(including harassment) deem

    offensive in regard to an individuals sexual

    orientation or religion.

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    Disability A disabled person is defined as someone who

    has a physical or mental impairment that has

    substantial and long-term (more than 12

    months) adverse effect on his or her ability to

    carry out normal day-to-day activities.

    There are three areas (within UK legislation)

    that make it illegal for an employer to

    discriminate against disabled individuals:

    in deciding who to interview, who to employ or in

    terms of an employment offer;

    in the terms of employment and the

    opportunities for promotion, transfer, training or

    other benefits, or by refusing the same;

    by dismissal or other disadvantages.

    Age discrimination

    Occurs when a person is treated less favorablybecause of their age, and this is used as a basisfor prejudice against, and unfair treatment of,that person.


    Impact regardless of age

    reduce employment prospects for older people,younger people and parents returning to work

    favor people in the age group 25 to 35

    prevent the full consideration of abilities, potentialand experience of employees

    A country's age discrimination regulations may

    suggest that employers should:

    Refrain from using age limits while recruiting and

    focus on ability and skills (such as newly-qualified

    or recent graduate) in job advertisements;

    refrain from asking for medical references only

    from older applicants

    Use mixed age panel of interviewers

    Promote on the basis of ability

    Train and develop all employees

    Base redundancy on job related criteria

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    Managing equal opportunities

    Management should consider: Support from the top of the organisation for the

    formulation of a practical policy

    Monitor and review (application, leaving, transfers,promotions, training)

    Policy made by a working party drawn frommanagement, unions, minority groups, the HRfunction and staff representatives

    Stance and positive action: taking active steps toencourage people from disadvantaged groups to applyfor jobs and training, and to compete for vacancies.E.g. using ethnic languages in job advertisements, orimplementing training for women in managementskills

    There are a number of reasons why acompany might wish to do more than they arelegally obliged to. These include:

    Feeling they have a moral duty

    To keep customers happy.

    Obviously this is important for recruitmentand selection but also includes:

    Equal opportunities for training

    Equal opportunities for promotion

    Equal treatment in times of redundancies.

    Other initiatives

    Putting equal opportunities higher on the agendaby appointing Equal Opportunities Managers

    Flexible hours

    Career-break or return-to-work schemes forwomen.

    Fast-tracking school-leavers

    Training for women-returners

    Awareness training for managers, to encouragethem to think about equal opportunity

    Counseling and disciplinary policies


    The idea of diversity means the organisation recognizesthat people are different in terms of personality,working style, work/life balance needs, trainingrequirements and career expectations and looks forways to use the different viewpoints this brings for itsown benefit

    The organisation may try to have a workforce with avariety of Religious

    Races Marital status


    Sexual orientation

    The organisation might try to achieve this throughnumerical targets.

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    Diversity Management Diversity management means actively

    encouraging a diverse workforce.

    Tolerance of individual differences

    Workplace behavior

    Communicating effectively with (and motiva


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