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Equal opportunities policies and monitoring

Updating author: Tina McKevitt


  • There are many benefits to an employer in having an equal opportunities policy that is effectively implemented and communicated to all employees. It may improve the recruitment process, help retain valued employees and deter acts of unlawful discrimination. (See Advantages of an equal opportunities policy)
  • The best way of ensuring that all employees and agents understand the organisation's equality policy, how it affects them and the plans for putting it into practice is to provide regular training. (See Training)
  • The aim of any sensible recruitment strategy is to find the right person for the job regardless of race, sex, pregnancy or maternity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age, married or civil partnership status, or transsexual status. To do that, organisations need to identify the skills and abilities that are needed to carry out the work, and to make sure that the vacancy advertisement states these clearly. (See Advertising jobs; Application forms and Interviews)
  • Employers may, in defined circumstances, appoint or promote a person with a protected characteristic in preference to another person who does not have the protected characteristic. (See Positive action in recruitment and promotion)
  • Employers should consider the equal pay provisions of the Equality Act 2010, and the rights of part-time workers to pro rated benefits. (See Terms and conditions)
  • Where an employer does not have and implement a policy that deals with the consequences of discriminatory actions by its employees and other third parties, it may be found to be liable for those actions. (See Harassment and bullying and Third parties)
  • A policy that confirms the employer's commitment to employ disabled workers, to comply with the requirements of equal treatment and to make reasonable adjustments raises awareness among managers and the workforce and is a major step in removing disability discrimination from the workplace. (See Employees with a disability)
  • Where appropriate and practicable, employers should permit employees to have reasonable flexible working arrangements, for example part-time work and flexible hours. (See Flexible working practices)
  • A policy dealing with family-friendly arrangements may avoid disputes as to the procedures to be followed and should make management more aware of the increasing number of statutory rights on which an employee can rely. (See Family-friendly rights)
  • The monitoring of applications for the purpose of equal opportunities is a practice recommended by the Equality and Human Rights Commission. This can be an important tool for any organisation to enable it to ascertain at an early stage whether or not there appear to be any areas of its work from which certain disadvantaged groups are excluded. (See Equal opportunities monitoring)