Equality & human Rights Commission March 2016 Newsletter
How to avoid discriminatory advertising
Last week we published new guides for organisations who advertise jobs or services.
They are designed to make life easier for businesses by explaining the law and helping them avoid costly legal proceedings through potentially unlawful adverts. Whether you are a school leaver, older person, man or woman, everyone should have a fair shot at the job they want.
However, thousands of people could be at risk of being denied jobs and services each year due to discriminatory adverts. We have received scores of complaints over the past year revealing widespread confusion around the laws passed by Parliament.
Tackling this issue and ending confusion will not just help prevent businesses breaking the law – it will create more opportunities to unlock talent and help drive Britain’s economic growth.
Unlocking opportunities: Breaking down barriers for disabled pupils
We’ve launched a free, online training course to help schools put reasonable adjustments in place and enable disabled children to fulfil their potential.
This free e-learning course is for anyone who works in schools, from teaching assistants and teachers to senior leaders and governors, as well as companies who provide sport and extra-curricular activities.
It explains, through videos, case studies and practical examples, how staff can provide reasonable adjustments to remove the barriers to learning for disabled pupils and ensure their legal rights are respected.
Lord Holmes, Commissioner at the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said:
“This resource is about enabling disabled children and young people, at whatever stage they are in the education process, to fulfil their potential.”
Teachers, school staff and companies who offer school trips can register for our free online training.
Our legal work
The Commission takes on legal work on a daily basis, protecting people from discrimination and upholding values of fairness, dignity and respect. Since the Commission opened in October 2007 we’ve:
- been involved in 300 legal cases of national importance
- helped more than 1,000 individuals and organisations, and
- held the Government and other public bodies to account in more than 70 cases.
High-profile cases, such as our current work with Doug Paulley and his action against FirstGroup plc, grab the headlines but we also help hundreds of people through ‘pre-enforcement work’. This involves helping individuals and organisations to make changes at an early stage, meaning we can protect people and their rights without resorting to costly legal action.
To help give you an insight into this area of our work, take a look at our ‘Legal work in action’. Here we also look back at some of the most influential cases we have been involved in over the last eight years.
Urgent action needed to tackle gender pay gap
The Commission has welcomed Government plans to introduce mandatory pay gap reporting for all companies in Britain in the voluntary and private sectors with more than 250 employees. The gender pay gap is the difference between the earnings of men and women and currently stands at 19.2%, meaning a woman earns 80p for every £1 earned by a man. However, we are concerned that the proposals don’t go far enough. The Commission would like to see sanctions for those companies who fail to comply and the ability to use our enforcement powers to ensure that they do.
Code of Practice for private sector landlords on ‘right to rent’
A new requirement on private sector landlords, known as the ‘right to rent’, came into force on 1 February 2016. This means that landlords need to establish whether prospective tenants have a legal right to be in the UK before entering into a tenancy agreement. Landlords (and their agents) also need to ensure that they act in accordance with equality legislation. In particular, it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, including colour, nationality and national or ethnic origin, when letting a property.
A Code of Practice for landlords on avoiding unlawful discrimination was published by the Home Office in October 2014.
The Code advises landlords to check the documents of all prospective tenants, not just those of people they believe may not be British citizens. It also explains that prospective tenants who are discriminated against could make a claim in the courts, leading to financial penalties or reputational damage for landlords or their agents if the claim succeeds.
The Commission advises anyone who feels they have been discriminated against when trying to rent a property to seek advice from the Equality Advisory and Support Service.
Protecting human rights in health and social care
A number of resources that will help people working in the health and social care sector to protect and promote human rights are being rolled out in the coming weeks.
The two-year project, funded by the Commission, will allow professionals to access a range of interactive learning materials to ensure that the human rights of the people they are supporting are always front of mind.
In producing the resources, the Commission has worked with expert bodies in the area of health and social care with the aim of improving experiences for service users, staff and providers.
You can find out more about these resources by visiting our website where we would also welcome your feedback, to ensure that the information we provide is as effective as possible.