Sex Discrimination

Equal Treatment of Men and Women


Over the last few decades, numerous statutory rules governing the employment relationship have been imposed in response to economic, social and political pressures. These statutory rules, unlike implied terms, cannot be excluded. Hence they will apply regardless of anything you agree in the employment contract. Breach of these rules can result in a claim against you by the employee to an employment tribunal or the Courts.

It is beneficial to have relevant Procedures & Policies available to provide to staff.

Equal Treatment - Men and Women

As well as requiring employers not to discriminate at the recruitment and selection stages, the law also requires that men and women be given equal opportunities and rewards whilst in employment.

Equal Pay: Men and women employed in the same establishment must receive equal pay if they do the same or practically the same job (if they do like-work): if their jobs have been evaluated as equivalent under a (non-discriminatory) job evaluation scheme; and thus the work can be considered of equal value.

The only situation where you can differentiate is if there is a material difference distinguishing the employees not related to sex, such as added responsibility or long service.

Pay includes wages (including increases in wages), bonuses, cash, and other benefits as well as retirement, retirement benefits, redundancy and other contractual entitlements.

Opportunities in Employment: Once he or she is employed, you have continuing obligations to the employee not to discriminate (directly or indirectly) on grounds of sex (and possibly sexual orientation) with respect to promotion, transfer, training and other benefits, facilities or services.

Management and supervisory staff should be advised of correct non-discriminatory conduct and procedures, preferably by means of a published company policy. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) provides guidance as to equal opportunities in the workplace.

Sexual Harassment: In addition, you must do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure that neither management nor colleagues subject a female (or male) employee to sexual harassment including unwelcome sexual attention, lewd behaviour or such like during their employment.

To avoid harassment problems, appropriate policies and complaints handling, disciplinary sanctions, training and monitoring procedures are critical.

If an employee suffers sexual harassment, resulting in resignation, you may face a claim for constructive and unfair dismissal. This will be in addition to any claim that he or she may bring with respect to the harassment itself. An employee can make a complaint within three months on these grounds to an employment tribunal.

Awards for claims based on sexual discrimination are unlimited.

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