Employment news

EHRC gives strong reminder on non-discriminatory decision making

Charlotte Billington, compliance manager at the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), speaking during a CIPD webinar, has reminded employers and HR of the need to ensure non-discriminatory decision-making during the Covid 19 pandemic. Failure to ensure that decisions are made fairly would be met with employment tribunal claims and costly legal fees.

Billington focused on a number of areas where discriminatory decision making might take place She said EHRC had received a number of accounts of “unlawful and worrying practice” from employers, such as pregnant workers being put on unpaid sick leave or automatically furloughed, alongside “biased working structures” such as women not being allowed to work from home because they had “caring responsibilities”. She added that disabled workers could also face barriers and disadvantages that non-disabled workers did not.

Turning to what employers could do, Billington gave examples of reasonable adjustments being made during lockdown and remote working, including organisations offering extra check-ins with line managers for anxious and depressed staff; tweaking hours or roles for those with underlying health issues; providing budgets for disabled workers to access software, and open communication and consultation to understand the needs of employees.