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Carolyne Wahlen, Golf HR Expert:
Discrimination, this is the area that is so easy to get wrong because they keep adding bits that are protected. So what you need to be aware of is what are the protected characteristics, what are the things you can’t discriminate on to part company or to give someone a promotion or a pay rise? Rather than me just telling you because that would be boring if I just told you, I’m going to give you an email.
The Email from Gail
Gail’s been with you for a while and you’ve been thinking of letting her go. So the first bit you should be worried about because it is in writing is the bit at the top, “well the old black bird”. That is bad. If you have a chair of committee or actually any committee members who send you emails that say those type of things you need to talk to them and tell them to not do it anymore because that is a written record that will be used against you, that means a blank check for the employee.
The next one is that she’s “turned 50”, so she’s protected under age discrimination. Well we’re all protected under age discrimination, but you know, the older you get the easier it is to prove it.
The next point is “20 years ago”. She is long serving, so trying to get rid of her is going to be really expensive. It’s not a discrimination thing, it’s just a practical money related thing. You’re going to have to pay her a lot of money to go if you want her to go.
She’s “moved in with Elspeth”, so sexual orientation, she’s protected there. And she “has kids”. She mentions “her church” so she could be protected under religious belief, however there is a difference between going to church once a week on a Sunday and actually as having it encompass your whole life. She couldn’t really claim religious protection for once a week on Sunday. She could if she actually lived her life around the church.
“Diabetes” is a disability, so you need to be aware of that. Again, red herrings, that she’s put on a bit of weight. You can discriminate on the grounds of weight but not on the grounds of the illnesses that come from weight, like the diabetes.
“The Green Party” could be political belief. It’s not whether you are a member of a political party, it’s how active you are. A gentleman who was a member of the BMP was employed driving people from ethnic minorities around. There were no problems reported, there didn’t seem to be any issues, but once he became a counselor for the BMP his employers dismissed him before there was any trouble, which is a bit silly. So that was on the grounds of political belief.
“Her grandmother in Barbados”, also with a comment at the top that “she is black” so she has protection of race, and she’s going to have “gender reassignment”. She’s going to become the person who really does wear the trousers.
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