…is an equal opportunity employer.

Hands up if you’ve ever seen this as a strap line for a company?!

Have you ever thought how any organisation would substantiate this claim?!

Employers and employees in the public sector, and in private or voluntary organisations carrying out work on behalf of a public sector employer, have a legal public sector equality duty in the workplace to prevent and eliminate discrimination, establish and promote equality and equal opportunities, and foster good relations between people with different protected characteristics.

Extract from the ACAS guidance to schools on the Equality Act 2010.

Word cloud of words that appear more than 20 times in Equality Act 2010

Back to my original question, how is this statement verified?

The interesting fact is that all the information is collected for at various stages of the employee’s life cycle, albeit some choose to not declare for a variety of reasons. The first instance would be an Equality and Diversity Monitoring form which collects information during on-boarding of any employee. The data that can be kept for any employee is stated by the government in the guidance on Personal Data. In this age of litigation I will assume these personnel files will contain, legally, information that highlights the progress an employee makes within any organisation.

For the government to be able to publish Ethnicity Fact and Figures, the data must have been collected somewhere?

The most recent step forward, organisations having to publish their Gender Pay Gap, the data must have been collected?

Is this information available? In a vast majority of cases, No. Transparency of this information seems to be a blocker.

Other parts of the education sector have had their challenges, for instance the BBC, had to request information for Ethnicity Pay Gap using Freedom of Information from the Russel Group. Only 22 of the 24 complied.

My question is, if you don’t know or evidence the picture how can you make a honest declaration that you comply with the act?

Questions to consider about the 9 protected characteristics and your employer:

  1. How many people apply to your vacancies?
  2. How many people make it through the sifting process?
  3. How many people are offered a job?
  4. How many people accept a job?
  5. How long do they stay with your organisation?
  6. How many people get the top grades in appraisals?
  7. How many people are promoted?
  8. How many leave to get promoted?
  9. How many people have bespoke CPD to develop them for their next step?
  10. How many people are there at different levels of the hierarchy?
  11. How many people are Trustees and governors?
  12. What are the mean pay awards for each characteristic?
  13. What is the mean pay of each characteristic?
  14. Does your “school” have equality on their strategic action plans?
  15. Does your “school” facilitate CPD for every member of staff on the Equality Act?
  16. Does your organisation allow employee networks?

Disclaimer: if your employer has not made this data available it does not mean that they are not an equal opportunity employer. It just means that they can not verify this for their organisation.The Equality and Human Rights Commission outline these and other points for employers, The Public Sector Equality Duty. (The link takes you to presentation that you can download).

If the answers to these questions are mostly no, can an employer really qualify the statement that they are “…an equal opportunity employer”.

I’ll leave you with this thought…

“Imagine not knowing the various vulnerable groups in your class.

Imagine never being accountable for their academic outcomes.

Imagine no one questioning you to the fact that your vulnerable students never make the same progress as others that are not.

Imagine you never being asked to put measures in place to help them progress.

Imagine you never being professionally judged for doing so.

Imagine you being able to say it’s ok”

In a world where data is power, why are we so hesitant in this case.

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