Employers advised to be aware of discrimination

24-09-2008

Employers advised to be aware of discrimination
Employers have been advised that they need to make sure they are aware of any discrimination in the workplace.

Jean Kelly of Jean Kelly Consultancy has highlighted that managers are vicariously liable for the behaviour of their staff.

Therefore she believes they have a responsibility to minimise any harassment, bullying or discrimination in the workplace, otherwise they may face being taken to an employment tribunal.

Ms Kelly said: "It is very important to train and advise all managers regarding their responsibilities in relation to discrimination in the workplace."

She also explained that managers have a duty to set a positive example to their employees.

"Managers need to set the standard of behaviour, lead by example and challenge discriminatory behaviour," Ms Kelly added.

ClickAJob Marketing Manager Anders Jensen agrees.

"Though controversially, actively trying to avoid discrimination can also present a double-edged sword," he points out.

"At work as much as anywhere, people enjoy light-hearted moments, word plays and amusing sayings – they break the ice and give staff something to smile about as they work."

"But with so much diversity in companies anxious to be discrimination-free, it is all too easy for a spur-of-the-moment joke to go wrong," he says.

"Other people’s sensitivities are seldom like our own – and though no offence may ever have been intended, the hurt experienced by anyone who feels like a target can be overwhelming."

Mr Jensen concludes, "As a conscious habit, managers need to remind staff to think first before they say anything – one thoughtless word can so easily damage years of effort."

According to figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development nearly two-thirds of employers say that relations between management and employee unions are either good or very good.

Related categories: HR / Recruitment.


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