Employment Rights and the Equality Act 2010
Every individual who works in the UK is entitled to employment rights which means that the company that they work for follow through a legal set of guidelines and apply them to their workers. The list of employment rights an individual has is extensive and different for individual jobs. This article shall help to inform what different employment rights there are, discuss the Equality Act of 2010 and finally the correlation the 2010 Equality Act has on protecting disabled people.
As already mentioned, there are many areas that cover employment rights but this article shall break them into four main sections: - statutory rights and rights under the contract of employment, time off work, discrimination/bullying and finally health and safety rights. Most workers are entitled to statutory rights which are legal rights passed through law by the Government. The few workers who are not entitled to statutory rights include workers who work outside of the UK, fishermen and the police.
Statutory rights help to inform a worker of the things that their employer should be doing for them and what they are entitled to whilst they work. Examples of statutory rights include: - the right to be paid at least the minimum wage, the right to a written statement of terms of employment within two months of starting work and the right to paid maternity leave.
The rights an employee has with their employer is a pact of agreement between both parties and is usually written down but sometimes is verbally communicated. All employers are supposed to issue a written statement to their employees after two months of working for the company, describing all the terms of their contract of employment. The details of what information is enclosed includes the worker's job title, the rate of pay they will receive and hours of work. Other information enclosed usually informs the worker on the company's grievance and disciplinary procedures.
All workers are entitled to paid time off work for various different reasons such as to attend trade union duties as part of a citizen's obligation or to have a baby. Workers are also entitled to time off work for other reason's but may not be paid for their leave. Examples of this type of time off work includes engaging in trade union strikes or demonstrations and looking after family, be that children or disabled relatives.
Regardless of the type of work or contract, every worker is entitled to receiving respect whilst in the workplace by their employer and the other employees. Discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual and is often related to a personal characteristic such as sex, religion or race. Discrimination against an individual can occur in many different forms.
Direct discrimination occurs for example, if someone does not get a job because of their ethnicity whereas indirect discrimination would be if only a certain number of workers did not receive training but their other colleagues did. Discrimination can also occur through harassment in ways such as unwanted physical contact and verbal abuse.
If a worker has been discriminated at work, it is advised that they raise their complaint/grievance with the employer before going down the avenue of making a claim to an employment tribunal. It a workers right to go to work and not be discriminated or bullied. If an employee is bullied, their employer and trade union should protect them. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) website has useful advice on workplace bullying and harassment.
The Equality Act of 2010 combined a series of legislation into one act to make it easier to understand and in order to strengthen the protection of those in certain situations. It has helped to make disabled workers more aware of their rights and empower them against discrimination in the workplace. The previous legislation that it combined included: The Sex Discrimination Act 1975, Race Relations Act 1976 and the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The Employment Act also protects a person's rights if they have an association with a disabled person such as a parent or carer.
The Equality Act came into place on the 1st October 2010 which means that those who were discriminated against in any way before October 2010 would be covered by the legislation that had been in place at that time and not the Equality Act. However, if an individual had been discriminated against on or after 1st October 2010, the Equality Act would apply and not the separate legislation that had been in place before hand.
The provisions of the Acts were commenced at different times to allow organisations to prepare and make way for the changes. For example, the Equality Acts provisions did not come into place until April 2011 which included recruitment and promotion.
Disabled people are particularly vulnerable to being discriminated against whether that is in the workplace or in any other aspect of life. The Equality Act of 2010 was drawn up in mind with protecting disabled groups from discrimination in a range of different areas including: employment, education, access to goods and services as well as when buying or renting property.
The Act protects disabled people and states that employers must make reasonable adjustments to the workplace to accommodate the disabled worker, whether that is a physical or mental disability. The Act also states that disabled workers must not be subject to redundancy just because of their disability as this is a form of discrimination, nor can an employer make an employee retire if they develop a disability.
The Equality Act also covers education and briefly advises schools and other educational institutions of how to cater for pupils who are disabled. For example, adapting the classroom to benefit the pupil such as installing a ramp to help a pupil in a wheelchair to access in and out of the room independently. Higher education universities and colleges are supposed to have a person in charge of disability issues so that the student has a network of support as they continue through their studies at the institution.
The Equality Act also branches out to provide support for the disabled in instances such as being questioned by the police so that they have the necessary needs in place such as a translator if they are deaf.