Equality ActThe statutory defence can be found at section 109(4) of the Equality Act 2010. It states: “(4) In proceedings against A’s employer (B) in respect of anything alleged to have been done by A in the course of A’s employment it is a defence for B to show that B took all reasonable steps to prevent A from doing that thing, or from doing anything of that description”.
Discrimination Claims & A Complete DefenceEmployers must be able to show:
- What, if any, steps you took to prevent your employee from doing the act or acts complained of in the course of their employment;
- and show that there were no other reasonably practicable actions that you could have taken.
So, what do you need to do?
- 1. Ensure that all your policies that relate to discrimination, harassment, equal opportunities etc are up to date.
- 2. Make sure those policies have been effectively communicated to your employees.
- 3. Provide training to staff on your policies and what they mean, on diversity and equality of opportunity and on how discrimination can appear in the workplace.
- 4. Regularly review and update both the policies and the training.
- 5. Use them and ensure they have been utilised in an appropriate way when issues have occurred within the workplace.
- 6. Keep good, contemporaneous records of all steps taken when seeking to prevent or address workplace discrimination so that in the event a claim is made, you are in the best possible position to successfully argue the defence.