Acas and effective workplaces
An Acas case study

Page 5: Equality, diversity and effective workplaces

Equality and diversity

The workforce and working patterns are changing. The working population is getting older, especially since the removal of the default retirement age in 2011, and there are more women and men from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Employees rightly expect to be treated fairly and considerately. This expectation is generally supported by the law.

It is unlawful to discriminate against people at work because of:

• age
• disability
• gender
• gender reassignment
• marriage and civil partnership
• pregnancy and maternity
• race
• sexual orientation
• religion or belief

Valuing the diversity of employees is also important from a business point of view. Companies with a diverse range of employees are better able to understand the needs of a diverse range of customers.

They are also best placed to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly diverse and competitive labour market. These factors affect company performance. The starting point is a good and well communicated equality and diversity policy with an action plan to back it up. Acas has specialist advisers who give hands-on help putting these in place.

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