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NI Equality Commission publishes guide to equality rights

NI Equality Commission publishes guide to equality rights

The Equality Commission for Northern Ireland has published a Guide providing employers with practical guidance on how to comply with their responsibilities under each of the anti-discrimination laws in respect of their treatment of job applicants and employees, and to assist employers to promote equality of opportunity in employment across all of the statutory equality grounds.

The Guide is not a statutory code of practice and it does not have the same legal status as a code of issued under the antidiscrimination legislation. The Guide does not impose legal duties and a failure to observe any of the guidance will not render an employer liable in legal proceedings. Unlike the provisions of a code of practice, a tribunal is not obliged to take any relevant provision of the Guide into account when determining any question that arises in the course of proceedings.

But while the Guide does not have statutory force, the content substantially derive from the provisions of the existing codes of practice and the provisions of the codes are admissible in evidence in any tribunal proceedings and are taken into account by the tribunals where relevant. In addition, the provisions of the Guide represent the Commission’s current best practice recommendations

The Guide contains a number of useful checklists and has a particularly good section on promoting equality of opportunity through effective communications. The guide highlights that it is good practice for employers to review their communications practices to identify actual or potential barriers to effective and inclusive communication and to take reasonable steps to remove them.

In short this Guide is essential reading for any employer operating in Northern Ireland and is an excellent source of best employment practice for employers operating in England Wales and Scotland (while remembering that the law differs in some respects). Website link to A Unified Guide To Promoting Equal Opportunities In Employment, Equality Commission for Northern Ireland,

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