In the spring of 2010, The Equality Act 2010 became law. Before this act came into place there were many old legislations in place to support anti-discriminatory practices, however this new act made it all easier to understand and follow. Stronger laws were needed because many people believed that the old equality laws did not make equality happen fast enough, for example disabled people were more likely to be out of work, men were still being paid more than women for the same kind of job, and people from different races were still finding it hard to get a job.
Some of the main changes that you will need to be aware of when working within this health and social care setting are;
All public bodies must think about treating people from different groups fairly and equally. This is called the Equality Duty. This means that public bodies need to look at how they can support people from all different backgrounds, areas, sexuality, religion or ethnic origin.
Also public bodies must look at how they can help to stop people doing less well than other people based on their family background or where they are from, for example children from poorer families often don’t do as well in school as those who come from a more fortunate background even if they are considered to be smarter, this is called socio-economic equality.
Therefore public bodies must look into how they can support these children, in order to distinguish the inequality between family backgrounds. Before this act was in place public bodies had already recognised the need for treating people of different races, disabled people and men and women equally and fairly, however the new act adds even more groups of people to the Equality Duty, these include; people of different ages, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, those with a religion or people and those without, and women who are having a baby and also just after they have had their baby.
New rules to make sure that older people are treated fairly. The old legislations already stated that employers could not say that some was too old or too young for a hob, however it was felt older people were still treated unfairly in other ways. For example some companies charge older people more for their service/product than they would charge a younger person, without good reason to do so. Therefore this change states that older people should not be charged more than a younger person would be for the same service/product unless they have a valid reason for doing so. Also the act ensures that older people are given the same standard of care within a hospital setting as any younger person would. However this act does not change things, which are already good for people of different ages such as a free bus pass and flu injections for older people or travel passes, and student cards for younger people.
The act includes more to stop disabled people being treated unfairly. Treating people who have a disability without good reason is now much better protected within the equality act; it is now against the law to treat a person unfairly because of their disability. An employer is now not permitted to ask a person if they are disabled prior to an interview unless they can prove that it is so that they can make reasonable adjustments for the job interview. The equality act makes it much harder for an employer to be unfair as they can only sometimes ask if a person is disabled.
The act now includes policies on reasonable adjustment for people with disabilities, for example if a disabled school pupil needs specialist equipment to enable their learning, then the school must provide this if it is consider reasonable, as this is classed as a reasonable adjustment. Also the act now states that information for disabled people must be displayed in a way that is clear for them to understand, this is also considered a reasonable adjustment. For example for those who are partially sighted or blind, then healthcare settings should make adjustments so that they decode and understand the information this could be by providing the information in braille, or simply making the font larger and therefore easier to see.
The act has 2 new ideas to make men and women’s wages easier to compare. Before the new equality act came into place many men were still considered to get more wages than women, despite the fact that 40 years ago an equal pay law came into place, which stated that employers should pay men and women equally for doing the same sort of work. The Equality Act includes 2 new ideas about how to make equal pay happen more effectively, companies that employ over 150 workers must publish information about equal pay and how many workers they employ who are disabled or from different races, and also the act stops employers from telling workers that they cannot talk about their pay with each other.
The act makes it clear that women can breast-feed their babies in shops, cafes and other places. The new equality act made it clear that it is against the law to stop a woman from breast feeding her baby in places such as cafes, buses, restaurants and shops or to ask her to leave the premises.
The act protects people from dual discrimination. Dual discrimination is when a person is treated unfairly because of a combination of two of the protected characteristics. These are: Age
Pregnancy and maternity
Religion or belief
Marriage and civil partnership
An example of dual discrimination could be that James is a homosexual man who works for an employer who treated heterosexual men and homosexual women fairly, however he treated James unfairly this is due to the fact that he is male and a homosexual, therefore this is considered to be dual discrimination, and the new equality act protects against this.
Because of the Equality Act 2010 our care setting, Sunnyside residential home has many policies and procedures that we must comply with to make sure that you are not discriminating against anyone you care for, and also to make sure that as an employee you are not being discriminated against. Five of these policies are listed below.
Age Equality Policy
This policy sets out how Sunnyside residential home will work towards the promotion of age equality in all of its activities. The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination on the grounds of age unlawful. Age discrimination happens when someone is treated unfairly based on his or her age without good reason. Sunnyside residential home strives to be recognised as a company whom provides good employment prospects for people of all different ages and we treat individuals who apply for employment with us with fair treatment based solely on their qualifications, ability, experience and suitability for the position. Sunnyside residential home is fully committed to promoting equality and equal opportunities for all ages. We do not tolerate any discriminatory behaviour by any member of our staff in the residential home; we have a zero tolerance for bullying and harassment. Within in the home we also treat service users fairly no matter their age, no one is judged or stereotyped and as employees we strive to support all the needs of our service users and not just their age or ability.
Disability Discrimination Policy
This policy sets out how Sunnyside residential home will work towards the promotion of disability in all of its activities. The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination on the grounds of disability unlawful. Sunnyside residential home strives to be recognised as a company whom provides good employment prospects for people of all different abilities and disabilities, and we wish individuals who apply to us to know that they will receive fair treatment from us and that they will be treated solely on their qualifications, experience, ability and suitability for the position. We support our staff with all disabilities as long as they are still able to complete the job to a high standard. In the residential home we strive to provide reasonable adjustments to enable better care for our service users such as equal access to all buildings for wheelchair users such as ramps, lifts and also handrails. Also for those whom are hard of hearing we have a hearing loop to aid them. We also provide information displayed in a way which is easier for people who are partially sighted to blind to understand such as braille, or large, clear lettering, in line with the Equality Act 2010.
Sex/Gender Discrimination Policy
This policy sets out how Sunnyside residential home will work towards the promotion of sex/gender equality in all of its activities. The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination on the grounds of sex/gender unlawful. Sunnyside residential home strives to be recognised as a company whom provides good employment prospects for people despite their gender. We wish individuals who apply to us to know that they will receive fair treatment from us and that they will be treated solely on their qualifications, experience, ability and suitability for the position. Sunnyside residential home works within the guidelines of The Equality Act 2010 as we provide equal pay for our male and female employees who are employed to do the same or similar job. Also we strive to make sure that all our residents are also treated fairly despite whether they are male or female. All our employees are trained in how to promote anti discriminatory practices and how to recognised the signs of discrimination to ensure that our residents are protected from this.
This policy sets out how Sunnyside residential home will work towards the promotion of equality for women whom are having a baby or have just had a baby. The Equality Act 2010 makes discrimination on the grounds of maternity unlawful. As it stated within in the Equality Act, it is unlawful to stop a woman who is breastfeeding her baby or ask her to leave, therefore within our home we provide private areas within the home in which if they choose to, women may use to feed their babies. Also for women whom have just had their baby, as their employer we strive to allow job changes wherever possible to support our employees so that it is more suitable for them. Also within our policy we provide maternity leave for women who are pregnant and when they have had their baby.
Sunnyside residential home is committed to ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment within the workplace for all employees and service users. Our aim is to create an environment where all employees and service users feel comfortable and in which everyone is treated with respect and dignity, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, transgender status, colour, nationality, culture, religion, age or disability. This policy aims to ensure that nobody within the home is subjected to any form of harassment or bullying, and to provide a procedure for those who believe they are being harassed or bullied to raise a complaint. We treat all complaints of bullying and harassment absolutely seriously, and will always investigate them thoroughly and promptly and in confidence. All employees and service users have the right to make a complaint if they feel they are being treated in a manner that constitutes harassment or bullying. This includes behaviour that may have caused offence, embarrassment or distress.
Also any employee who witnesses an incident of harassment or bullying should report this incident to their superior; we will take reports such as this seriously and investigate the complaint in confidence. In order to make a formal complaint against someone who you feel has been bullying or harassing you or someone else, then this must been done so in writing and forwarded to your superior. A panel will then investigate this, and then the person against whom the claim has been made will be informed. Depending on the severity of the situation the person whom the complaint has been made against could face a possible suspension from work during the investigation. Depending on the outcome of the investigation the complainant could face no further action; they could be relieved of their duties and no longer be employed by the residential home or could even face a criminal conviction.
Since The Equality Act became law in 2010, bringing together all of the old legislations into one big more effective legislation, discrimination has been tackled more efficiently within health and social care settings. Although discrimination is still happening sometimes with healthcare settings as some people are still ignorant towards the policies on equality and diversity there are now much simpler, easy to understand procedures on how to deal with this discriminatory behaviour. All healthcare settings must follow the policies and procedures within The Equality Act 2010, in order to promote anti-discriminatory practice. The Equality Act 2010 has brought many positives to promoting anti-discriminatory practice, for example it has been much more effective in bringing about proper equal pay for men and women as now employers are not allowed to tell their employees not to discuss their wages, and they have to publish information about equal pay making it much harder to discriminate and not provide equal pay.
Also I feel that the new policy has helped to prevent discrimination against disabled people when applying for employment, as employers are now not allowed to ask potential employees whether they have a disability or not unless this affects their ability to attend interview or they are required to make reasonable adjustments, therefore reducing employers ability to discriminate against people with disabilities, and not employ them because of their disability. Before this act was in place upon finding out that potential employees had disabilities employers were more likely to not even offer the candidate an interview for the job based solely on the fact that that they are in some way disabled and not on their ability to do the job, when in truth they may well have been able enough to complete the tasks of the job, but employers discriminated against them.
Now this is unlawful and employers can be prosecuted for it in accordance with the Equality Act. An example of where The Equality Act 2010 has been used recently is in a news report in 2012, where the elderly were being denied life-saving treatment for heart attacks and surgery following breast cancer, this report shows the age discrimination that took place across the NHS, where doctors were making an assumption based on the patients age instead of their individual ability to recover. The Equality Act 2010 states that it is unlawful to treat anyone worse than anyone else based on their age, therefore as a result of this act, policies have now been put in place to stop ageism in the health service, where the elderly can now sue if they are unfairly refused treatment based on their age.
https://www.don.ac.uk/PDF/E_D_policy_anti-harrassment_anti-bullying.pdf https://don.blackboard.com/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_id=_2_1&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Flauncher%3Ftype%3DCourse%26id%3D_499197_1%26url%3D https://www.gov.uk/equality-act-2010-guidance