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Discrimination

When opinions cross the line

Posted on: March 23rd, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Whether it’s Brexit, coronavirus restrictions, or Megan and Harry – we’re all being encouraged to voice our opinion. In an employment context, differences of opinion or clumsy arguments can cause legal liability.

When does free speech cross the line and amount to harassment?

The right to free speech is enshrined in human rights legislation. That legislation works alongside the Equality Act 2010 which sets out clearly behaviour that amounts to harassment.

The legal definition of harassment (paraphrased) is simply unwanted conduct about a protected characteristic (such as age, race or disability) that makes another person feel humiliated, degraded or offended. So, in an employment context, ill-framed or offensive remarks about race, disability, age or any other protected characteristics can amount to harassment even if not intended to insult. And, as an employer, you can be liable for such offensive remarks.

With liability for harassment claims unlimited and reputational damage wide-reaching, in our next email update, we explore how you strike the right balance between supporting free speech and avoiding harassment claims.

If you’d like support with promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity, please get in touch here for further advice.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (23 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Real-life reasons to deal with discrimination

Posted on: March 16th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

This is important – we’ve seen that over the last week or so on many levels. We all have a view. We all have a right to vocalise that view.

How you deal with an evolving diversity conversation and landscape is challenging and creates risk. But, it also supports the opportunity to demonstrate you are willing to trail blaze, support openness, and disrupt responsibly.

Our next series is designed to give confidence, and support you with your diversity and inclusion journey (from an employment law perspective). Here’s what we’ll cover:

Free speech? – when expressing an opinion amounts to harassment

Debating society – creating a positive environment to share and challenge

Enlightened individuals – the importance of training and understanding

Manager mission – supporting managers to create a positive and inclusive environment

Risk – how unlawful discrimination can lead to claims and compensation

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss anything we’ve covered in more detail. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (16 March 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.