In the aftermath of Brexit and the election results in the USA, emotions continue to run high with both votes highlighting electorate concerns over immigration. Figures released by the Home Office show that hate crime in England and Wales continued to rise in 2015/16, with 79% being racially motivated crimes.
Since the Brexit vote, the challenge for employers is to prevent such discrimination seeping into the workplace especially given that a percentage of employees in every business will have voted for Brexit (and some may even have supported Trump). There is a fine line between employees expressing their political beliefs and going beyond that, by expressing discriminatory viewpoints or acting in a discriminatory manner.
If employers fail to take any action to protect and support non UK nationals working for them they could find themselves losing talent and facing discrimination claims in the tribunal including being held vicariously liable for the actions of their employees. As a result, many employers are concerned about what steps they can take to protect all their employees and create a safe working environment.
This protection can be achieved by having a robust Equal Opportunities Policy in place and enforcing this by providing effective training to managers and staff alike on what this policy actually means for them as individuals. This will enable all employees to understand that certain behaviour will not be tolerated by the business and could result in disciplinary action. As well as having a preventative effect, the other advantage of having such policies and training procedures in place is that this can be used as part of an employer’s defence in the Employment Tribunal in showing that all reasonable steps were taken to prevent discrimination and harassment. Proper training also empowers managers to deal with these thorny issues at an early stage to prevent them from escalating into Employment Tribunal claims.
Here at Joelson we have specifically tailored our Diversity Training Programme to deal with post Brexit issues in the workplace. If you are interested to find out more about our diversity or other training please call the Joelson employment team on 020 7580 5721.
This article is for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action.
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