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October 19, 2010

Free Starter Kit helps firms understand Equality Act

Employers can find out fast how to comply with the Equality Act and what action they need to take following the launch of a free online tool by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

The practical guidance covers the Act in five downloadable modules for employers, which take at most ten minutes each to complete.

Once you have completed the modules, you will have a working knowledge of which areas of the new law matter to your firm, and what, if any, action you need to take in specific situations for your employees.

Module 1 provides a basic guide to the new law. Modules 2 and 3 give updates on what’s changed legally and show you how to manage your team day to day. Practical advice is given on how to deal with typical working issues such as deciding pay and setting a dress code, as well as how to avoid unfair and unlawful behaviour at work.

Module 4 covers how to recruit people in accordance with the new law, giving tips on advertising positions and explaining how interview panels should behave, with questions you should ask – and not ask, such as not mentioning a candidate’s sickness record until after you offer them the job. Procedures for employees leaving your firm are also covered.

Finally, module 5 guides you through flexible working and time off for your workforce, explaining the firm’s and the employee’s rights in each situation.

In force from 1 October, the Equality Act brings together all discrimination rules into a single law. EHRC interim chief executive Helen Hughes said: “Simplifying equality legislation and extending protection to a wide range of groups that face discrimination will help Britain become a fairer society, improve public services, and help business perform well.”