Does your organisation have an equality policy?
Are your organisation’s policies and service-provision compliant with the law?
Can your organisation fairly balance the rights of protected characteristics?
Does your organisation understand the single-sex exception and when it can be legitimately applied or non-applied?
- work with your organisation to assess your equality policy for compliance with current equality legislation
- provide policy-development support for organisations that, as yet, do not have an equality and diversity policy
- ensure your organisation understands the potential conflicts of interest between protected characteristics and how to fairly balance competing needs
- ensure your organisation understands the single-sex exception and the permissible discrimination that is central to that exemption
It is commonly acknowledged that a happy workplace is a productive workplace. A diverse workforce is equally acknowledged as being of great benefit to organisations. Diversity also better reflects the wider population and is therefore morally justifiable. It does, however, introduce a potential for conflicts of interest – which organisations have to creatively manage.
For organisations with a public sector equality duty (PSED), there is a requirement in the 2010 Equality Act to ‘foster good relations between those of a protected characteristic and those not’.
Though not a legal requirement for other types of organisations, fostering good relations is clearly in the interests of all organisations.
Allowing employees and or clients/service-users to have a say on planned change – especially change that is sensitive and likely to be controversial – is an effective way to manage potential conflict. It also embeds trust in management and is an effective route to workplace harmony and client/service-user contentment. A majority outcome that does not tally with individual views becomes acceptable when individuals have had an effective input into the process.
However, there must also be confidence in the process itself.
In the case of consulting with employees on applying, or not applying, the ‘single-sex exception’. Fear of recrimination from co-workers and/or management, as well as concern for possible negative repercussions on career prospects, can deter employees from voicing an honest opinion.
This defeats the very point of consulting and skews consultation results. It also leaves underlying discord unaddressed which can sour work relations, with a potential negative impact on productivity.
An internal consultation outsourced to an external agency can bolster employee-confidence, not only in the consultation process itself but also in your organisation’s impartiality.
It will also serve to shield your organisation’s operations and reputation should adverse reactions arise.
AEA offers an impartial anonymised consultation mechanism to manage and facilitate your consultation with your employees.