Employer defence failed because equality and diversity training was “stale”
In a very recent Tribunal case (Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen UKEAT/0031/20 (4 February 2021), where a colleague of the Claimant (the Claimant being of Indian origin), was found to regularly make racial comments, to the effect that the Claimant should go and work in a corner shop, had brown skin and he drove a Mercedes car like all Indians, it was found that the employer, Allay, failed in its attempts to defend itself by suggesting that it had trained staff on equality and diversity.
After investigation, the Tribunal found that whilst the company had put staff on equality and diversity training prior to the discrimination taking place, the training was delivered 20 months prior, was insubstantial and it was clear that employees had forgotten it. As a result, the employer couldn’t defend itself on this point.
This case acts as a stark reminder to employers that just having equal opportunity policies and procedures is not enough for an employer to escape liability for acts of discrimination carried out by its employees. It is clear from the judgment that employers must not only provide training to its staff, but this training must happen regularly and be of high quality for it to have any substantial and long term impact.
The team at Howarths are qualified and experienced in delivering a full range of training to your team from equality and diversity, to ‘how to be a manager’, to helping delegates properly understand HR documentation, how to deal with staff who are underperforming and disciplinary. An ideal foundation course for many managers is our ILM accredited “HR Essentials” course which is next running virtually on 22nd March 2021.