Equality and Diversity in the Work Place – Case Study
11th September, 2019
Equality and Diversity training is an important part of making sure that employees treat each other with dignity and respect.
Discriminatory language can cause serious offence to individuals (and/or groups) in the workplace, risk liabilities arising in the event of claims under the Equality Act 2010, as well as possible financial and reputational damages to a company. Employers should consider providing regular training on equality and diversity in the workplace as part of a number of measures to take a zero tolerance approach to discrimination.
On 12 March 2019 Theresa Georges, a former cleaner at POBL Group Ltd (“Company”), won her racial harassment claim when offensive terms were used in a training session on equality and diversity. As part of her employment, Theresa had to attend the induction training, which left her “deeply offended and uncomfortable”.
In the training session an activity was undertaken, where attendees had to shout out “the most derogatory words they could think of”. The person who conducted the session asked the group what word people found most offensive. Certain discriminatory words were then repeated. The result of the exercises left Ms Georges in a state of shock, as the training went into a break.
At the end of the session, Ms Georges requested annual leave for the next day through the online portal, which was not authorised and she did not come into work the following day. Ms Georges did not return to work as a result of the equality and diversity training and she wrote to POBL’s HR department complaining about the session.
The case report stated that the training session left Ms Georges feeling upset, physically sick, anxious, distressed, angry and uncomfortable. This demonstrates how important it is for companies to be aware of the effect certain training methods can have on their staff.
Cardiff Employment Tribunal found unanimously in favour of Ms Georges, after the tribunal had found that her former employer provided a course which allowed the use of racial epithets, amounting to racial harassment.
Contact Claire Brook for further information regarding our bespoke in house training sessions which include equality and diversity in the workplace.