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What "positive action" is permitted under discrimination legislation? | FAQs | Tools |
It is lawful under s.158 of the Equality Act 2010 for an employer to take action to compensate for disadvantages that it reasonably believes are faced by people who share a particular protected characteristic (ie age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation). Separate provisions allowing positive action in relation to recruitment and promotion in limited circumstances are contained in s.159 of the Act.

Positive action is lawful if it is taken to:

enable or encourage people who share a protected characteristic to overcome a disadvantage connected to the characteristic;
meet the needs of people who share a protected characteristic where those needs are different to those of people who do not have the characteristic; or
enable or encourage people who share a protected characteristic to participate in an activity in which their participation is disproportionately low.
The employer can encourage people from disadvantaged groups to apply for work, and can provide training to help equip them for the particular work, but the decision on whom to select must be made on merit alone, except in circumstances where the candidates are "as qualified as" each other and s.159 applies.

For example, an employer that has records that show that its employees from a particular racial group are under-represented at management level could run a management training course targeted at employees from that group. However, the employer could not favour candidates from that group, at the expense of other candidates, when recruiting managers (unless s.159 applies).

Section 159 of the Equality Act 2010 allows an employer to treat an applicant or employee with a protected characteristic (eg race, sex or age) more favourably in connection with recruitment or promotion than someone without that characteristic who is as qualified for the role. The employer must reasonably think that people with the protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage or are under-represented in that particular activity. Taking the positive action must be a proportionate means of enabling or encouraging people to overcome the disadvantage or to take part in the activity. Employers must not have a policy of treating people who share a characteristic more favourably; they should decide whether or not to take positive action on a case-by-case basis.

The position in relation to positive action in favour of disabled people is different because it is not unlawful to discriminate in favour of a disabled person and employers have a positive duty to make reasonable adjustments to compensate for disadvantages related to disability.
hr  positive  action  discrimination 
2 days ago by tinley
Training Programs and Reporting Systems Won’t End Sexual Harassment. Promoting More Women Will
Training Programs and Reporting Systems Won’t End Sexual Harassment. Promoting More Women Will
Frank DobbinAlexandra Kalev
NOVEMBER 15, 2017

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We already know how to reduce sexual harassment at work, and the answer is actually pretty simple: Hire and promote more women. Research suggests that this solution addresses two root causes of harassment.

First, as a raft of studies has shown, harassment flourishes in workplaces where men dominate in management and women have little power. We’ve recently seen this imbalance wreak havoc in the entertainment and media industries, where it’s long been understood that major players like movie producer Harvey Weinstein and former Fox News chief Roger Ailes could easily make or break women’s careers. But this is also happening across the economy, with women in tech and law, saleswomen (particularly in retail), waitresses, hotel maids, and many others. Male-dominated management teams have been found to tolerate, sanction, or even expect sexualized treatment of workers, which can lead to a culture of complicity. People may chuckle over misbehavior rather than calling it out, for example, or they may ostracize harassed women, privately ashamed of not having spoken up. Reducing power differentials can help, not only because women are less likely than men to harass but also because their presence in management can change workplace culture.

Second, harassment flourishes in organizations where few women hold the “core” jobs. Fixing this is about finding power in numbers, not just in authority and hierarchy. Female firefighters, police officers, construction workers, and miners are frequently harassed because they’re outnumbered. So are women in the tech industry, advertising, journalism, and our own field — academia. Again, the answer is to bring more of them into the ranks. In industries and workplaces where women are well represented in the core jobs, harassment is significantly less likely to occur.

If it’s that simple, why aren’t companies putting more women into management roles and core jobs? One reason, ironically, is that women tend to leave workplaces where sexual harassment is common and goes unaddressed; the fight can feel hopeless in an environment where gender bias runs rampant. Another reason is that companies don’t take the steps proven to be effective for hiring and retaining women, such as setting up special college recruitment programs to telegraph that they actually want women in management, or creating formal mentoring programs to make sure everyone who wants a mentor gets one.

Companies have also found that they can stay out of legal trouble by adopting cosmetic fixes, which is much easier than solving the problem of harassment at its roots. Beginning in the 1970s, when U.S. federal courts found on-the-job harassment to constitute sex discrimination, companies created anti-harassment training programs and set up systems to handle internal complaints. Many executives were skeptical that these measures would reduce harassment, but they thought they ought to do something to ward off lawsuits. And in that sense the measures worked. In 1998, to the surprise of many legal experts and social scientists, the Supreme Court found in dual judgments that providing anti-harassment training and grievance systems could shield companies against some types of harassment charges — even though such programs had never been proven effective.

Most companies had anti-harassment training (70%) and grievance procedures (90%) before the Supreme Court spoke in 1998. So, of course, the rulings didn’t solve the problem; the harassment numbers haven’t budged since the first surveys were conducted in the early 1980s. In studies over several decades, using random samples of workers, about 25% of women report having experienced harassment at work. Harassment charges filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission doubled from 1990 to 2000, and they have gradually crept up since. By either measure — survey findings or charges filed — harassment isn’t going away.

The courts are partly to blame for this situation, because they often give employers with these programs a pass. But executives are responsible too. Most have installed training and grievance procedures and called it a day. They’re satisfied as long as the courts are. They don’t bother to ask themselves whether the programs work.

If they did ask, what would they learn? At the organizational level, our latest (unpublished) research shows that anti-harassment training for managers does lead to increases in women in both management and nonmanagement roles. It teaches managers what counts as harassment and what they can do when they see it, which in turn reduces harassment and the high quit rates of women who experience it. But at the individual level, findings are mixed. Though most people who undergo training are better able to define and recognize harassment and to intervene, that’s not true of everyone. Men who score high on a psychological scale for likelihood to harass women come out of training with significantly worse attitudes toward harassment, thinking it is no big deal. The received wisdom is that you have to get the worst offenders in the room for training. But it turns out that can aggravate the problem.

Executives might be excused for not realizing that training can backfire when people with negative attitudes are forced to attend — that’s counterintuitive. But company leaders should know that grievance systems are flawed, because they see firsthand what happens to employees who complain. Among people who file harassment complaints with the EEOC, at least one-third say that after complaining to the company they were demoted, moved to lousy jobs or shifts, fired, raped, or further harassed. Indeed, as several large-scale surveys show, people who file harassment complaints are much more likely to lose their jobs than those who experience similar levels of harassment and say nothing.

Our own analysis backs all this up: We’ve found that companies see significant declines in African American, Latina, and Asian American women in both management and nonmanagement roles after establishing grievance procedures for harassment. Percentages of white women in management go up slightly — perhaps they are better protected from retaliation because, on average, they are in more senior roles. But overall, women who file harassment complaints end up more likely to leave their jobs either involuntarily or of their own accord — and others may follow them when they see complaints badly handled, with the harassers still in their jobs.


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So, that brings us back to moving more women into management and core jobs being the best way to reduce harassment. Since this takes considerable time and effort, what can companies do in the meantime, aside from waiting for the indirect positive effects of training (fewer women quitting) to kick in and offset the direct negative effects of training (likely offenders becoming likelier offenders) and grievance procedures (the accused retaliating)?

We need to fix how companies handle complaints so that the people being harassed aren’t the ones who get punished. An EEOC task force (on which one of us, Frank, served) recently recommended providing multiple avenues of redress for those who experience harassment, since grievance systems often fail to resolve complaints. One option is to establish a formal open-door policy that encourages employees to bring concerns to anyone in management. Sometimes the right person can put an end to harassment quietly, without eliciting retribution. It’s hard to imagine this approach reining in the superstar harassers of this world, though, when multiple multimillion-dollar settlements don’t seem to stop them. Confidential electronic systems that allow employees to report harassment, but embargo the report until someone else has complained about the same person — or until they can’t stand it any longer — might expose the misbehavior of serial harassers. But such systems, like open-door policies, put the onus on harassed employees to solve the problem. So it’s critical that leaders start accepting some of the responsibility that the courts have allowed them to brush off for such a long time.

CEOs must take a strong public stand against workplace harassment — and keep repeating that message. They should be first in line for training, and they should chair the committees tasked with solving the problem. The U.S. Armed Forces provide an instructive example. They had long experienced high rates of harassment: Surveys in the 1990s found that 65% to 79% of women were harassed each year. But leaders made a concerted effort to reduce harassment through consistent anti-harassment messages, regular training, formal and informal reporting mechanisms, and systematic investigation and remediation. Where women reported that their commanders supported these measures and modeled respectful behavior, they also reported that they had been harassed less in the last year, that they observed less harassment over several years, and that they were more satisfied with responses to their complaints.

That makes sense. After all, culture is shaped by behavior at the top. As long as men dominate in management, it’ll be up to them to make those changes.
management  HR  gender  culture  society  failure  misjudgement 
3 days ago by enochko
Multiannual Financial Framework : Making the case for a strong EU development cooperation budget - CONCORD
The European Union has demonstrated great leadership in making the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris climate agreement or human rights conventions. The next Multi-annual Financial Framework (MFF) will need to reflect these existing commitments and provide the EU with the sufficient budget to positively contribute to development cooperation. CONCORD's Position Paper outlines selected key issues related to the EU’s development and humanitarian funding.
EU  EU-AU  EuropeAid  Concord  2030-Agenda  climate  HR  Europe 
4 days ago by weitzenegger
Reprise: A Great Miracle Happened Here! - by @infullbloomus
"I could go on, but I think you get the picture. It would really be a miracle if we woke up on the last day of Chanukah to find that all of these wishes had come true. But even more important, although it has absolutely nothing to do with HRM or IT, I hope that the miracles of good health (mental, physical, and financial) are granted to each and every one of you."
holiday  thoughts  hr  tech  looking  back  forward 
4 days ago by jonerp

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