Workplace expert, Acas, has launched a new series of equality guides today to help employers and managers identify, tackle and prevent discrimination in the workplace.

Over the past year, the Acas helpline has dealt with nearly 50,000 calls on discrimination and diversity issues in the workplace. To help employers and managers get to grips with the law on equality, Acas has published three new free guides that offer a wide range of practical advice in the workplace:

  • Equality and discrimination: understand the basics;
  • Prevent discrimination: support equality; and
  • Discrimination: what to do if it happens.

Acas Head of Equality, Steve Williams, said:

“We have published these new free guides to help employers understand the basics around equality and discrimination as falling on the wrong side of the law can result in a costly employment tribunal.

“Research shows that employers with a diverse workforce can reap many business benefits as they can tap into the knowledge and skills of staff from a wide range of backgrounds.

“Our new guidance suite covers the different types of discrimination, situations where discrimination is lawful as well as practical steps on how to prevent discrimination and dealing with it if it happens.”

Business Minister Nick Boles said:

“Employers benefit greatly from building diverse workforces. The new equality and discrimination guides from Acas are a positive step in helping employers to understand the law and in preventing hardworking people facing workplace discrimination.”

The new Acas guides cover the nine areas in law that are known as ‘protected characteristics’:

  • Age;
  • Sex (gender);
  • Race;
  • Religion or belief;
  • Disability;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Marriage and civil partnership; and
  • Pregnancy and maternity.

Discrimination claims can be made based on any of the above characteristics.

Steve Williams added:

“Last month, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published a new research report which showed that many new mothers experienced pregnancy and maternity discrimination in the workplace, which is a protected characteristic according to the Equality Act 2010.

“Our guides give a basic understanding of the law and the different characteristics to help employers spot the warning signs and put measures in place to help to prevent it from happening in the first place.”