Equality Bill

Bullying & Harassment

06 Mar
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Bullying, Discrimination, employee rights, Equality Bill, Health and Safety, Video, Vlog, Wellness   |  No Comments


Employers are obliged to protect staff from bullying and harassment. Generally, this is in terms of discrimination, but may include anything from their favourite football team, what a person wears, their hobbies or their mannerisms.

Employers are obliged to ensure that the work environment is mentally safe for everyone and therefore free from bullying and harassment.

Prevention is better than cure and employers can be held vicariously liable if they don’t take adequate steps to prevent bullying and/or harassment taking place.

How Well Does Your School Promote Equality?

18 Dec
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in Blog, Discrimination, education, employee rights, Equality Act, Equality Bill, Schools   |  1 Comments

Equality and DiversityYour school is keen to promote equality. However there have been reports recently suggesting that some schools are not publishing equality information as required by legislation. Therefore, now might be the time for you to ask just how well your school promotes equality. Use the questions below to help you to review your current approach.



#1 – Do You Have An Equality Policy?

You need a document that sets out how you intend to make sure you deal with equality issues in accordance with the law. What does your document say about how you treat your staff? What does your document say about how you treat students?

#2 – Have You Committed To Implementing Your Policy?

Creating a policy is a start. You also need to ensure you have procedures in place to guide staff on how to implement the policy and to help embed the policy in the culture of your school.

#3 – Do You Have Robust Reporting Mechanisms In Place?

Do you have ways of bringing concerns to the attention of the right people, if issues related to your equality policy emerge? Have you made sure that people in school do not feel inhibited about reporting their concerns about equality?  Do people feel confident that, if they report their concerns, they will not themselves be blamed for causing problems?

#4 – Do You Have Review Mechanisms In Place?

Every policy needs review. Is there a committee, or are designated individuals, tasked to make certain your policy is being implemented and working as it should?  How is change sanctioned? Do the people who review the working of your policy have the authority to make changes or do they simply recommend change?

#5 – Do You Share Good Practice?

How is the issue of equality being dealt with in other local schools and in schools similar to yours? Do you know? Do you share what you do well with other schools? Do you also learn from other schools, and introduce new ideas which work well elsewhere into your own practice?

Are you keeping up to date with any changes in legislation that may affect how you manage the issue of equality for the future?

… Finally

Do you take the time to listen to what people say about your equality policy? If you asked the question: how well does our school promote equality in the staff room or at the school gates, are you confident that you would receive the sort of response you would like to hear?

DOHR are specialists in HR. Check out the services we offer to schools: http://dohr.co.uk/schools/ If you like this post, please share it on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

Have we missed anything?  Let us know in the comments below.

Can you spring clean in the Autumn?

10 Aug
by Donna Obstfeld, posted in employent law, Equality Bill, HR, National Minimum Wage   |  No Comments

September always feels like a good time for a Spring Clean. The kids are back at school, most of the workforce are back from their summer holidays and business owners have had a chance to get off the rat wheel – if only for a while perhaps.

So why carry out a spring clean in Autumn? A fresh pair of eyes, an objective review of the business, a critical analysis of what the business needs to do in the next 12 months to survive, grow and be successful. Time to dust off the cobwebs and prepare the business while people are feeling refreshed, invigorated and motivated.

Autumn is a time when people often leave a business, deciding to move on to new challenges. This is a time when a business needs to review its plans for Christmas, prepare for the new year and set long term objectives.

So how does this all link to HR? That is after all our area of expertise!

Well for the past few years October and April have been the main points at which new employment legislation comes into force. All UK employers need to ensure they know what is coming, what changes are required of their HR policies and procedures and how to prepare the business for some significant changes.

Do the finance department know that the National Minimum Wage is increasing on the first of October. Do they know that the higher rate will now apply to employees 21 and over, reduced from 22 and over. Have the budgets been updated to incorporate these changes?

Do employees understand their rights and obligations under the new Equality Bill? Is some training required to mitigate the risk that employers face if their employees are in breach and the employer has done nothing about training? Have policies and procedures been updated to reflect the new legislation?

As always when new employment legislation comes into force, there is an opportunity to review and refresh the company’s approach to managing people.

HR Audits, workshops & focus groups with employees and senior management team brain storming sessions, will all help employers to ensure that their HR policies and procedures are, and remain, legally compliant and business relevant.

What are you doing to ensure you comply with the new legislation? Do you believe that the changes will affect your business? Do you know what the changes are?

Don’t bury your head in the sand and hope you don’t get caught. Find out, make the change and make your workplace a better place to be.