Skip to content

We are conscious that asking a particular group of people, who have a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010, to restrict their duties, could expose the Trust to allegations of discrimination. What steps can we take to avoid someone/a group of people feel that they have been treated differently because of their protected characteristic?

A claim for indirect discrimination is the most likely risk here. The first point to make is that the decision to review duties is being made based on the growing amount of medical evidence that the BAME community is being disproportionately adversely affected by the COVID 19 pandemic compared to other ethnic groups. The key is to ensure that blanket policy decisions are not taken, nor should assumptions be made about the risk to each individual concerned. Decisions should only be made on an individual basis with an open dialogue with the individual concerned. You as their employer, need to ensure that the individual feels listened to and heard; that this is not just a tick box exercise.

Consider having a working group which has an overview of the policy decisions being made. That working group should contain representatives from across the staff groups including staff side, but importantly, representatives from different ethnic backgrounds to ensure the important voices are heard. Accountability should be built into that group. This group should also be a safe environment for staff to raise concerns about their health and safety and safe systems at work.