Feeds

Harassed employees: dispute resolutions are failing

Victims tend to suffer even more

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

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.

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
Amazon says Hachette should lower ebook prices, pay authors more
Oh yeah ... and a 30% cut for Amazon to seal the deal
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
Feel free to BONK on the TUBE, says Transport for London
Plus: Almost NOBODY uses pay-by-bonk on buses - Visa
Twitch rich as Google flicks $1bn hitch switch, claims snitch
Gameplay streaming biz and search king refuse to deny fresh gobble rumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.