Discrimination on Grounds of Race or Religion or Age
Treatment of employees has come under scrutiny in the last few decades. Legislation has been passed to help facilitate effective regulation of a business/work environment. The areas covered by legislation are: employment contracts, work-related regulations (ie. Breaks and work conditions), minimum wage rates, unlawful/unfair dismissal, and discrimination/harassment on the grounds of gender, sexual preference, race, religious beliefs, disability, and in recent years, age. Legislation of this nature need to be a major concern for employers to not only follow, but implement. Dismissal of legislation could lead to large penalties, associated with compensation and legal fees.
Infringement of employees rights may also lead to a company/organization's poor public image. As most businesses know, maintaining a positive public image leads to customer loyalty as well as higher profits and funding (if it is a non-for profit organization). Receiving bad press from poor employer behavior could devestate and bankrupt an otherwise successful company/organization. The purpose of this bulletin is to show an overview of the main legislation and the core requirements that should be made aware of and followed.
This overview will also discuss the mechanics of enforcing Employment Law. It provides a basic overview of the legislation passed as well as regulation of industrial or trade disputes. The objectives are to: describe the laws governing security staff during an industrial or trade dispute, the responsibility of police to preserve peace and adherence to law concerning for this overview, over industrial or trade dispute.
Security staff must not get involved in any disputes that go past their job duties. However, security staff have to be aware of any directions that management give in connection to access to strikers or their union representatives to a company/organization's premises.Security staff should be edcuated and routintely familiar with:
Legislation concerning industrial or trade disputes
Any and all rights of the employer
Rights of people connected to the dispute
Human rights implications
In most industrial disputes, the duties of security staff are to protect the company's premises from unlawful intrusion and prevent disruption between parties involved. The main statutes in connection to industrial/trade dispute law are the Trade Unions and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 and the Trade Union Reforms and Employment Rights Act 1996. Additional legal provisions concerning miscellaneous responsiblities as well as consequences of industrial or trade disputes are found in the following statutes (see also Miscellaneous Provisions Relating to Trade Disputes later in this bulletin), ie:
Control of Pollution Act 1974
Criminal Law Act 1977
Highways Act 1980
Public Order Act 1986
Minimum Wage Act 1998
Note: common law may have an additional effect upon such disputes.
Legislation defines industrial or trade disputes as:
A dispute between two parties (workers and their employer) in relation to one or more of the following:
Terms and conditions of employment
Expected physical conditions of workplace
Discplinary action concerning: engagement, non-engagement, termination or suspension of employment
Employment duties of one or more workers
Allocation of work
Duties of employment between workers or groups of workers
Workers' membership status with a trade union
Facilities for trade union officals.
Machinery in regards to negotiation or consultation
Miscellaneous procedures in connection with any of the above matters encompassing recognition of employers or employers' associations, representation, consulation, and carry out of trade union rights to represent workers
To briefly summarize, the definition explains a trade or industrial dispute between the workforce and management in relation to:
Terms and conditions of employment
Physical safety of workers (no health hazards, safe work conditions)
Membership trade union status
Expectations with regards to job duties
Machinery maintenance/repair/evaluation for negotiation or consultation in accordance with the rights of the worker
3.1 Advice on Handling Dismissals
Basic principles concerning key behavior must always be followed such as:
Be direct, assertive, but also respectful, be professional at all times when addressing a problem
Support any comments made with clear answers and evidence to support those answers
Emphasise and clarify any decision made. A final decision must be communicated properly and state there is a right to appeal.
Always have a witness while conducting any dismissals to provide corroboration in the case of any appeal, or in the event of legal action.
Dismiss a worker at the end of the work week and let work know in advance to allow person to prepare to leave.
Ensure the dismissed person no longer has access to company systems and databases after dismissal.
Employers may be subject to a legal claim for unfair dismissal regardless of whether or not company procedures were followed. Following procedure will allow for any cases brought to be in the favor of the employer.
3.2 The Minimum Wage
The Minimum Wage Act of 1998 generated a universal minimum wage with the exception of the self-employed, volunteers, and workers under the age of eighteen. Workers have the right to conspensation equal to or higher than a minimum figure set by the Secretary of State after getting the recommendation by the Low Pay Commission. The Minimum Wage is applied universally throughout the counry without any regional variation. This act applies to all areas of industry, occupations and company/organization size. There is no qualifying period before the Minimum Wage applies. Employers must maintain a database of records containing the payment history of workers and allow workers access to them. A worker has the right to enforce the minimum wage payment by taking his/her case to an employment tribunal or a county court.
3.3 Working Time Regulations
The Working Time Regulations 1998 were introduced to implement the European Commission Working Time Directive (93/104/EC). Ammendments took place in 1999 and 2003 to include all non-mobile transport workers in the sea, inland waterways and fishing sectors, workers in the railway and off shore sectors, and workers in the aviation industry not covered by Aviation Directive (200/79/EC). 2004 onward, the regulations applied to junior doctors. The regulations specify any worker's average working time during a week, including overtime, should not exceed 48 hours in any period of 17 weeks. Any overtime may be approved through a workforce agreement. Regulations do not apply if the worker agrees in writing to a work week of more than 48 hours. Under age workers are not allowed, regardless of written approval to work more than 40 hours a week. The average hours for a night worker must not exceed 8 in any 24-hour period. Regulations also provide provisions such as the entitlement to 11 hours of rest per day, a day off per week, a rest break if working more than 6 hours a day and 4 weeks paid leave a year.
4. WORKERS AND EMPLOYMENT
Legislation defines the term worker regarding any dispute with an employer as:
1. A person currently employed by an employer
2. A person who was once employed by an employer, but is no longer due to the dispute. For example, if the reason for termination of employment was one of the concerns responsible for the dispute then he/she is still considered under law .
Regardless of the reasons, if a worker is dismissed due to a dispute, the worker(s) in questions are still considered workers and must be recognized as such. The Act defines employment as any relationship whereby one person works for another and s compensated and taxed.
It is unlawful to prevent employment, dismiss or discriminate against an employee on grounds of gender, sexual orientation, disability, race or religious belief, prior criminal history, or age. Discrimination is either direct or indirect in its action mechanics. This is a complex area that has extensive coverage that will be briefly covered in this overview.
5.1.1 Gender and Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Discrimination on the basis of gender and sexual orientation are outlined alongside each other for convenience. The principal legislation is the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 making it unlawful to discriminate on grounds of sex and marital status as well as gender reassignment. Protection from discrimination begins from the commencement of employment.
The main requirements to avoid sex discrimination are:
• Job opportunities should be made avaliable to all regardless of gender
• Any advertisement must not contain material that is discriminatory in fashion
• Any questions asked during the interview process must be fair and not favorite any particular gender
• Personal questions should be avoided
• Workers should not be offered less pay based on gender
• Not hiring women for male dominated jobs based on assumed work load
• An employee cannot be dismissed based on pregnancy
The only permitted exceptions to equal treatment are:
• It is allowed to discrminate against a woman in regards to job performance if it endangers her health, ie. She is pregnant and ill or about to give birth
• A 'genuine occupational requirement' (GOR) can also be used to keep certain candidates from…