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When is Discrimination Permittable

When is Discrimination Permittable

SKU: 11.2
  • Advice

    There are instances where different treatment regarding a protected characteristic can be justifiable. However, a company must have an objective justification that covers and explains the need for particular policies. If they cannot prove that their practices, policies or rules are justifiable, these policies will count as indirect discrimination. 


    To rely on an objective justification defence, the employer, service provider, or organisation must demonstrate the validity of a policy or rule. In addition, it must be shown to be a proportionate method of achieving a legitimate goal. To prove objective justification the aims must be a real, objective consideration and not in itself discriminatory. So, for example, if the objective is simply to reduce the organisation's costs and that discrimination saves more money, the aim will not be considered legitimate. The aim must have a proportionate means. For instance, does the goal outweigh the hardships incurred by discriminatory policies? 


    There must be no sufficient alternative measures available if this is the case. The alternatives must be near impossible to commit to or undo the work of the aim for it to count as justifiable. 


    Occupational requirement

    Some care work may be limited to same sex carers for their patients, this is particularly relevant when the person needing care is a child or mentally vulnerable. Other situations would be recruitment that is ethnic specific, this would normally apply to services such as the police, prison service etc who are seeking to gain a more representative mix of ethnicities as their representatives.


    Positive Action

    Positive Action is a set of steps a workplace takes to combat the lack of diversity within a company. This is done to encourage people who have a protected characteristic to apply for particular jobs.


    This is done because; 

    • Those with a protected characteristic might have a different need;
    • Are disadvantaged in some form; or
    • Have a record of low participation and involvement. 


    Practices might be adopted to break barriers that might have stopped people with a protected characteristic from entering a particular industry.

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