The Equality Act came into force in October 2010 and was set up in order to legally protect people from discrimination in the workplace and outer society. The Equality Act replaced all of the anti-discrimination laws such as Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Equal Pay Act 1970, Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 with one law covering them all. The Act protects employees from being discriminated against in the work place and mainly covers the three areas of discrimination which are religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. Sex Discrimination
The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 protects men and women from being sexually discriminated against on the grounds of sex or marriage. The Sex Discrimination Act means that employers cannot victimise or choose not to employ an applicant purely down to their gender. Opportunities should always be equal for both genders and they should both have the same chance when it comes to going for a job. The only reason why employers should be able to specify a gender which they want when writing a job description is when they are advertising for a carer job which involves personal care. A female client may not want a male carer looking after them as they will need to carry out duties such as bathing the client. In these circumstances, gender preference can be specified in a job role without being considered discrimination. Equal Pay
The Equal Pay Act 1970 prohibits employers favouring a gender when it comes to their pay or working conditions. An example of unequal pay would be a male and a female care worker both on the same promotion level, working the same hours and putting in the same amount of effort into their job role, but the male getting paid more than the female. This is classed as discrimination as many people believe that it is not fair that pay can be distributed unequally for the same job roles. The equality Act prevents this from occurring and requires all employers to pay their staff the same about without putting their gender into consideration. Disability Discrimination
The Equality Act also provides people with a disability from discrimination within the workplace. The Act requires employers to make reasonable adjustments to their work surroundings if they are inviting someone with a disability into their workplace for an interview or for employment. These adjustments can include lifts or wheelchair access for someone who is in a wheelchair or providing help for someone who has dyslexia with their reading and writing when it is required. Under the Equality Act 2010, someone is classed as disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has an effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Under the Equality Act it is unlawful to not provide reasonable adjustments to accommodate a disabled worker or to refuse to employ them because of their disabilities. Race Discrimination
Race discrimination is when someone is treated differently to others because of their race. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate again someone or treat them differently from anyone else because of their race or because of the race of someone that they associate with. An example of racial discrimination would be if an employer had a British applicant and an Asian applicant, both with similar qualifications and experience for the job role, but choosing to employ the British applicant because they don’t want an Asian person working for them. European Working Time Directive
The European Working Time Directive was set up in 1998 to manage the amount of hours a single person can work in a week. It also gives workers the right to minimum holiday allowance each year, rest breaks when they work over a period of consecutive hours and a rest of at least 11 hours every 24 hours. The European Working Time Directive was set up in order to stop employers from taking advantage of their workers and making them working unreasonable hours and for ridiculous amounts of time without breaks. The maximum that a worker can work is up to 48 hours per week under the legislation. Employment Act 2002 & 2008
The Employment Act of 2002 was created in order to create provisions for rights such as paternity and adoption leave and pay and to amend the law regarding maternity leave. It was also set up to settle disputes regarding equal pay and to make provision for trade unions to support workers who feel as though they are being treated unfairly. The Employment Act of 2002 was amended in 2008 to include provisions for the minimum wage and the Employment Act 2008 also reinforced dismissal practices of employees. It stated that if employers did not follow correct procedures when dismissing their employees then the dismissal would automatically be classed as unfair. This Act was put in place to stop employers dismissing their employees over nothing and provided employees with more job security. National Minimum Wage
The national minimum wage depends on how old you are and whether or not you are currently an apprentice or not. The current minimum wage stands at £6.31 for ages 21 and over, £5.03 for 18-20 year olds, £3.72 for under 18’s and £2.68 for apprenticeships. The national minimum wage was set up to stop employers exploiting their workers by paying them next to nothing.
Data Protection Act 1998
The Data Protection Act governs the handling of personal data and information in the UK. The act was set up to ensure that all personal information is kept private and confidential and is only seen on a need-to-know basis. This is important and relevant to the workplace as when you fill out your application form you give your employer all of your personal details and bank information which should be kept private. The Act prevents the employer from sharing this information with anyone and protects the employee from suffering bank and identity fraud. Ethical Issues
Ethical issues are dealing with morals or principals. Ethics determine a person’s view on what is right or wrong and should be handled with care. An ethical issue that is common in the workplace would be regarding doing personal jobs while on the clock or using a work computer, printer or copier for anything other than work purposes. Some employees may not see a problem with doing such thing whereas others may feel it is not appropriate. It is important that employers inform their employees what they consider to be right or wrong and that these rules must be followed.
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