Friday, 10 June 2022 15:08


When we are called upon by our clients to provide advice regarding a disciplinary or dismissal process for an employee, one of the early questions we will invariably ask is whether the individual in question has any “Protected Characteristics”. These are the triggers for potential claims of discrimination so it’s a good idea to remain mindful of what the protected characteristics are.

You can be certain that any “no-win, no-fee” lawyer will know what they are. With claims for discrimination unlimited, and the record for highest UK award standing at a staggering £4.5 million, it’s easy to understand why.

The grounds for discrimination were originally set out in the Equalities Act 2010. Since the implementation of the act, there have been a few changes and additions to the definitions as the Act has evolved to maintain its fitness for purpose. Protected Characteristics will always be considered by a Tribunal in cases of dismissal.

Discrimination can also occur during the recruitment process. So an individual doesn’t even have to be an employee to make a discrimination claim. This is why it is vital to have a fair and transparent recruitment process.

It’s clear then that eliminating discrimination from the workplace will help businesses to avoid litigious acts that might result in unbearably high awards for compensation against them.

But that’s the negative approach.

A far better way to interpret the spirit of the Equalities Act would be, rather than avoiding discrimination, how about embracing and encouraging inclusivity? It’s widely reported that organisations with inclusive cultures consistently outperform non-diverse businesses; the McKinsey Report suggests by as much as 35%.

Indeed, when enterprises have an inclusive business culture and inclusive policies, the predicted probability of achieving:

  • Increased profitability and productivity is 63%
  • Enhanced ability to attract and retain talent is 60%
  • Greater creativity innovation and openness is 59%
  • Enhanced company reputation is 58%
  • Better ability to gauge consumer interest/demand is 38%

An inclusive culture recognises that that difference can be a positive force. Having a presence of diversity across a range of employee roles and leadership positions demonstrates the organisations commitment to equality. Being recognised as an inclusive employer widens the reach and therefore the talent pool when recruiting; no bad thing in the current climate of record vacancies.

Equality and diversity training can be seen purely as a ‘tick-box’ exercise for some organisations. A badge to hide behind to avoid vicarious liability should a discrimination claim arise. The danger is that this again concentrates too much on the negative. Instead of focussing on the words and deeds that must be avoided, look more to encouraging individuals to see beyond their perceived limitations of the race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or age of their peers.

Gender Reassignment is one of the protected characteristics detailed in the Equalities Act and forms the basis of our forthcoming seminar. The event will give delegates, for a modest charitable donation, an opportunity to examine and challenge their own organisation’s approach to inclusivity from one aspect that can be applied across the whole spectrum of characteristics.

For further information and support in creating an inclusive culture, and for more information about our seminar, call us on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Read 1070 times Last modified on Friday, 10 June 2022 15:17


HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

We deliver excellent management and soft skills training suitable for all organisational levels. We are ILM and City & Guild accredited and Ken Blanchard approved.  





We are located in Gloucester in the West of the UK close to the M4 and M5 corridors. For a precise map and directions find us on Google Maps

We have clients all over the UK but predominantly within about an hour's drive time of our offices; in Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Bristol and Swindon & Wiltshire.