Feeds

Harassed employees: dispute resolutions are failing

Victims tend to suffer even more

High performance access to file storage

Workplace dispute resolution procedures make cases of discrimination worse and do not benefit the victim, according to sufferers of harassment on grounds of religion or sexual orientation.

In a new survey by employment relations and arbitration body ACAS, the victims of religious and sexual orientation-related abuse said dispute resolution procedures tended to victimise them even further, and usually resulted in their dismissal or demotion.

"For a majority, dispute resolution procedures were seen to be flawed, often exacerbating the experience of discrimination rather than resolving it," said the report (PDF) by the Institute for Employment Studies, which carried out the survey for ACAS.

"One strong theme among both sets of claimants was the tendency of their employers to respond to their complaint by seeing them as the problem, rather than the victim of unfair treatment," it said. "While religion or belief claimants were typically dismissed, sexual orientation claimants tended to have involved disciplinary action or demotion for work performance until they felt they had no option but to resign."

The participants in the study said Employment Tribunals were a valuable way for their claims of ill treatment to receive an objective hearing. In fact, they said, this motive outstripped a desire for compensation.

"Employment tribunal claims were generally submitted as a means of seeking justice and to obtain an external confirmation of unfair treatment, rather than as a way of gaining financial compensation," said the report.

The research tracks the progress of the Employment Equality Regulations on sexual orientation and religion or belief, which were made law in 2003. They made it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees on these grounds.

"These Employment Equality Regulations provide a further step forward in outlawing discrimination in our workplaces," said Rita Donaghy, chair of ACAS. "This is the first time since the new regulations came into force that sexual orientation and religion or belief at work has been subject to research. The findings shed new light on these issues both from the employees' and employers' perspective."

The research found that different groups faced different kinds of discrimination. "Sexual orientation claims were more likely to centre on bullying and harassment and religion or belief claims more likely to relate to terms and conditions of work that made the observance of religious practices impossible," the report said.

The survey also found that there was significant overlap between the issues of race and religious belief. "Religion or belief discrimination appears to be closely aligned with the race discrimination: two-thirds of religion or belief discrimination cases had race discrimination as a secondary [claim]," said the report.

Copyright © 2007, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Dropbox defends fantastically badly timed Condoleezza Rice appointment
'Nothing is going to change with Dr. Rice's appointment,' file sharer promises
Audio fans, prepare yourself for the Second Coming ... of Blu-ray
High Fidelity Pure Audio – is this what your ears have been waiting for?
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
Sorry London, Europe's top tech city is Munich
New 'Atlas of ICT Activity' finds innovation isn't happening at Silicon Roundabout
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Apple DOMINATES the Valley, rakes in more profit than Google, HP, Intel, Cisco COMBINED
Cook & Co. also pay more taxes than those four worthies PLUS eBay and Oracle
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.