The new report from leading employment law solicitors Doyle Clayton reveals that micro businesses are Britain’s least discriminatory workplaces (according to their employees) while medium and large organisations struggle with discrimination.

Based on interviews with 1,000 employees across a range of organisations (conducted by Censuswide Research), Doyle Clayton’s Age Before Beauty? report looks at age and gender discrimination, and attitudes of employees towards colleagues who work flexibly.

Key findings from the Doyle Clayton report are:

  • In micro businesses (1 – 9 employees), 97% of employees do not feel they have been discriminated against on the grounds of their gender. Moreover, 96% feel that their age has never been an issue.
  • In medium-sized (50-249 employees) and larger businesses around 10% of employees felt that they had been held back because of their sex (compared to only 1.3% in micro businesses and 4.5% in small businesses with 10-40 employees). Around 25% of employees in medium-sized businesses said they have witnessed someone being discriminated against because of their gender.
  • In micro businesses virtually no employee interviewed said they had witnessed age discrimination. By contrast, in medium-sized and large businesses over 20% reported witnessing it.
  • When it comes to working flexibly (whether from home or part-time) employees at micro businesses were consistently more positive towards colleagues who did this. Instead, about 20% of employees at medium-sized and large businesses typically view colleagues who work flexibly as less committed than full-timers.

Jessica Corsi, Partner at Doyle Clayton said: “The good news is that micro businesses, according to their own employees, emphatically are Britain’s least discriminatory workplaces. They also are the workplaces with the most positive attitudes towards flexible working.

“These findings are worrying for managers. In broad terms, in all but the smallest businesses, there is a sizeable section of employees that feels discriminated against because of sex or age.

“Putting aside the not insubstantial issue of employment tribunal claims, this indicates that many organisations will have a considerable chunk of their workforce likely to be feeling demotivated and vulnerable to being enticed away by competitors.”

Jessica added: “Our findings also indicate that attempts by companies to be more inclusive, by retaining older workers, or encouraging talented mothers to return after maternity leave, for instance, are in danger of being undermined by their own employees and managers.”