New Guidance on the Equality Act

Acas has issued new guidance to help businesses understand the changes to the new Equality Act.

The new guidance, ‘The Equality Act – what's new for employers?’, outlines what these changes will mean in practice. Changes brought in by the Act include: - employers are potentially liable if their staff are harassed by people they don't employ, such as customers and suppliers; - from October employers should no longer send out pre-health questionnaires with employment application packs, although certain exemptions will apply; - Employment Tribunals can require employers found guilty of discrimination to take steps to require them to change their policies and practices to prevent further discrimination; and - if the contract of employment requires employees to keep pay secret, the Equality Act makes this requirement unenforceable. John Taylor, Acas Chief Executive, said: ‘Fairness in the workplace is good business and motivates staff as well as improving effectiveness and productivity. Last year Acas received around 32,000 calls on diversity and discrimination-related issues. Our new guide helps businesses and managers understand what the changes mean in practice and what action employers will need to take.’