Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

This act many not at first appear directly linked to discrimination but again should be considered as some less scrupulous employers may discriminate against ex-convicts. The objectives of the act seek to guide prospective employers to look at an applicant as an individual and not at their past convictions. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has shown that of the 7. 3 million people in England and Wales on the Home Office offenders list in 2003 less than 10% had convictions for violence to another person.

Their research has also highlighted that of 144 Human Resource Practitioners who stated they had employed exoffenders, only 8 reported cases of reoffence. In 2003 some 33,000-prison leavers took up employment or training. Clearly there is a large labour resource amongst ex offenders and many of these have integrated into the working population so perhaps employers are best advised to consider their position and how they could be seen to discriminate against such individuals. There are however, exceptions under genuine occupational requirements. The case of Khan v NIC Hygiene (2005) was the test case for this legislation.

Mr Khan was employed as a bus cleaner by NIC Hygiene and applied to take all his annual leave in order to make a pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca. He did not receive a reply to his request and his manager informed him that he could assume that leave had been granted. On his return from leave he was dismissed. It was ruled that he had been unfairly dismissed and he was awarded i?? 10,000 compensation. There are two main bodies that exist to ensure that discrimination is minimised. These are the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality. Equal Opportunities Commission is an independent statutory body.

It is independent of the government, although it is responsible to the Equality Minister. It was established as a result of the Race relations Act 1975 to work towards the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of sex and marriage and. Having gained a brief overview of the legislation covering discrimination we can see that it is a complex area. It is hoped that the case histories have given a glimpse into how cases may not necessarily be as straightforward as they appear. As well as understanding legislation members of our organisation also need to understand the area of liability.

In this section I hope to indicate that even though an organisation does not directly discriminate it can still be held liable. An organisation cannot always plead innocence as it has a duty of care to employees. Vicarious Liability Employer is liable for all acts of discrimination- racial, sexual, harassment and bullying-committed to their employees which takes place during their employment. So anything done by a person during the course their employment shall be treated as done by their employer as well, whether it was done with the employers knowledge or not. Employees Liability

An employee who caries out discrimination in the course of their employment will also be personally liable. Liability of the Employer-A defence Where allegations of sexual harassment have not been made known to management, there was proper and adequate staff supervision, and the employers have made known their policy on equal opportunities, Employment tribunals are entitled to find the employers have proved a defence under section 41(3). This will apply to racial harassment, bullying and other forms of discrimination. Jones, a 16 year old of mixed race origin, started work at Tower Boot Company.

He was immediately subjected to a campaign of physical and verbal assaults from two of his colleagues. This included him being burnt with a hot screwdriver and having metal bolts thrown at his head. He resigned after 1 month and brought a claim of racial discrimination. The Employment Tribunal found that the employees had been acting within the course of their employment, and hence Tower Boot Company was vicariously liable. Therefore, Tower Boot Company was vicariously liable for the claim of race discrimination. Chessington World of Adventure v Reed (1997)

Reed, a biological male, announced 4 years after joining the organisation that she was going to start the process of gender reassignment. Following this announcement a small minority of male colleagues subjected her to a campaign of harassment and ostracism. A series of unpleasant acts took place. Reed attempted suicide and, despite asking to be transferred on returning to work, her employer did nothing to help. Reed eventually ressigned. The Employment Tribunal found that Chessington World of Adventure was directly liable for the actions of the colleagues who had subjected Reed to the abuse.

The employers argued that they were only vicariously liable for what had occurred, but the Tribunal found that they were aware of what had happened and done nothing to stop it. This resulted in direct liability. Whilst on the subject of discrimination let us take a brief look at "Bullying and Harassment" as discrimination is often not only an isolated incident and can lead to this. Bullying is persistent unwelcome behaviour, mostly using unwarranted or invalid criticism, nit picking and /or faultfinding.

It can include exclusion, being singled out and treated differently, being shouted at, humiliated, and excessive monitoring. Research done by the Trade and General workers Union revealed that from a sample of 1137 workers 78% had witnessed bullying and 51% had experienced it. The effects of bullying can be poor work relationships; low morale; lack of motivation; stress related illness; depression; absenteeism; increased labour turnover and in extreme cases, suicide. Therefore this is an area, which should be considered when we examine the importance of an Equal Opportunities policy.