Black Lives Matter: Employers urged to take a stand against racism

Employers are urged to stand with their employees and prioritise diversity and inclusion.

It is not enough to be not racist – individuals, employees and employers alike need to be vehemently and proactively anti-racist.

Employers are warned that their employees will be watching how their workplace responds to the protests and discussions around the Black Lives Matter campaign this week and that the employer’s response needs to be decisive and inclusive.

It is likely that some employees will want to join in with Black Lives Matter demonstrations planned across the UK following the London protests on 3 June. Employers should consider flexing their usual policies to show support, including allowing annual leave requests at short notice or allowing unpaid leave, or even writing new policies to allow for time away from work to work on charitable causes of the employees choice, which may include attending BLM protests.

Obviously employers have recourse to disciplinary action for employees who do not abide by the current policies, but employees should be mindful if refusing leave that they need to ensure they are not opening themselves up to a discrimination claim.

Employers need to be fair and consistent with their approaches to decisions about permitting attendance for events and dealing with unauthorised absence in order to avoid discrimination allegations

It should go without saying that employers should ensure that their policies and procedures in relation to discrimination are up-to-date and all recruitment procedures reviewed to ensure diversity of talent.

Posted on 4 June, 2020 by Ortolan

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