Legal-Island's Response to the Latest Equality Commission Survey

Posted in : NI on 31 January 2018

Commenting on the Equality Commission’s publication of survey findings* on social attitudes and perceptions of equality in Northern Ireland today (Wednesday 31 January), Barry Phillips, Chair of Legal-Island, and organiser of Northern Ireland’s Equality and Diversity Awards, said:

“There is a lot in this report that is very encouraging. We are seeing significant changes in attitude towards a number of minority groups over time. I believe that a principal reason for this is that many employers are now doing training on equality and diversity issues in the workplace.

“We know that this training can change attitudes and open minds. If you look at the history of the Fair Employment legislation in Northern Ireland or Race Relations legislation in Britain it is clear that legislation and workplace training can change attitudes.”

 

Legal-Island, which is headquartered in Antrim, is the go-to place for expert workplace compliance. It helps HR professionals understand employment law and how it applies to their workplace.

The company offers leading eLearning software delivering equality and diversity, data protection, and child safeguarding compliance training to top public, private and third sector organisations on the island of Ireland.

Developed specifically for the Northern Ireland market by a team of equality experts and lawyers based in Northern Ireland, the Legal-Island diversity and inclusion online compliance training covers unconscious bias; stereotyping; harassment; diversity at work; dignity at work and types of discrimination. To date the company has trained over 17,000 people in Northern Ireland on this module.

Mr Phillips explains: “Diversity and inclusion training is incredibly important. Put simply, diversity and inclusion training can boost business performance by 80% (as reported by Deloitte in 2012), reduces the likelihood of harassment issues at work and strengthens an employer’s defence in Industrial Tribunal cases.

“Advice from top employment lawyers is that diversity and inclusion training is completed on day one of employment and then updated regularly by all employees to ensure everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities in keeping the workplace harassment free.”

Given the increasing importance of equality and diversity in the workplace Legal-Island introduced its Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards last year.

Mr Phillips discusses: “The awards were an opportunity to showcase local employers’ commitment to advocating diversity in their organisations. The event was a great success and we are delighted that we have had even more entries for this year’s awards. Things are clearly changing.

“There are legal requirements associated with equality and diversity due to the importance of the issue.  However, it is essential that employers view equality and diversity as much more than just a legal tick box exercise. Valuing diversity and recognising the multi-faceted benefits that it brings will help businesses and organisations to thrive.  Driving diversity in the workplace will help drive it into the community outside too. This can only be good for Northern Ireland.”

The Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Awards provide an opportunity for organisations to be recognised for pioneering new standards of equality and diversity practices and driving the diversity agenda in Northern Ireland. Sharing best practice and acknowledging the efforts of staff that are working consistently to further organisational objectives in this area is extremely important. 

The Northern Ireland Diversity and Equality Awards are open to the private sector (SMEs and large employers), charities, not for profit organisations and public sector bodies. Award categories include Best Employer for Diversity And Equality in NI; Best Gender Initiative; Best LGBT Initiative; Best Disability Initiative and Individual Diversity Champion.

Winners will be announced at the Northern Ireland Equality and Diversity Gala & Awards 2018 on Friday 23 March 2018 at Titanic Belfast.

This article is correct at 31/01/2018
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.