Acas Report Shows Need for Diversity Training

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A new policy discussion paper from Acas highlights the need for more diversity and equality training in the workplace.

Back to Basics – Acas' experience of equality and diversity in the workplace, found “vast misunderstandings” among employers with the main barriers being a lack of awareness, entrenched attitudes and embarrassment to discuss the issues.

Based on the experience of Acas frontline staff, the report's key findings include:

  • Disability is an area employers fear and struggle to understand. Common misconceptions include the belief that you cannot sack a disabled person or that you can automatically sack someone if they have been on sick leave for a certain length of time.
  • Employers lack detailed knowledge of their responsibilities towards pregnant women and there is growing anecdotal evidence of employers being unwilling to recruit women of childbearing age.
  • Race discrimination is an area employers find particularly difficult to confront
  • The most common misconceptions about the new age regulations is that they apply to older workers only
  • One of the most difficult types of employer to persuade of the economic benefits of equality and diversity are those organisations that have recently grown from being relatively small to one managing more staff.
  • Acas Chief Executive, John Taylor said: “Our staff work with thousands of employers and employees each year in a neutral, impartial environment so we see the real issues and behaviours in the workplace at ground level. It seems that although there has been improvement in understanding what equality and diversity means in general there are still vast misconceptions about the detail especially among small employers.”

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