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How to defend discrimination claims


									How to defend
discrimination claims
If   an   employee        harasses      or   everything reasonably practicable to         familiarise   employees     with    their
discriminates      against        another    prevent the harassment taking place          responsibilities under it, as well as
employee in the course of their              in that it had:                              assisting them in understanding the
employment, the employer will                                                             potential     discrimination/harassment
be liable for those acts.              The   · put in place a clear internal policy       problems that they may encounter in
employer has a defence to such a                which would have prevented the            the workplace.
claim if it can show that it "took              harassment if the manager had not
such steps as were reasonably                   disregarded it;
practicable       to     prevent       the
employee"       from          taking   the   · taken steps to implement that
discriminatory action.                          policy and not just pay 'lip service'
                                                to it; and
Employers have found it difficult in
the past to successfully argue this          · investigated the complaint quickly.
defence. However, there has been a
recent case in which the Employment          This case shows the importance and
Appeal Tribunal has upheld a decision        value of a good equal opportunities
that the employer, in this case the          policy. The policy should set out the
Ministry of Defence (MOD), had               appropriate standards of behaviour in
indeed    taken        such     reasonably   the workplace and the consequences
practicable steps to prevent sexual          if employees do not meet them.               If you have any concerns on anything
comments being made by a manager             Further,    this     policy   cannot   sit   raised in this article please contact
to his junior and, therefore, defeated       gathering dust on the shelf.           An    Caroline Leaver of Solnick LLP on
a discrimination claim.                      employer must ensure all employees           020         8996     4717      or
                                             are fully aware of the policy, monitor and she will be
It was held that the MOD had done            its application and provide training to      happy to advise you.

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