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CMS Expert Guide on discrimination in the workplace

Measures to ensure that citizens are treated equally and respectfully, regardless of gender, ethnicity, age, sexuality, beliefs and other criteria have witnessed constant evolution over the past 75 years.

From the United Nations enshrining equality and freedom from discrimination as basic human rights in 1948 to Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights providing an open-ended list of prohibited grounds for discrimination, society increasingly recognises that unequal treatment of different groups, based on unjustified distinctions, has no place in the modern world.

Nonetheless, laws regarding discrimination and equality – particularly in the workplace – still vary hugely from country to country. Any employer working in multiple jurisdictions needs to be aware of their different duties in relation to workplace discrimination. In particular, they must understand their obligations in terms of introducing relevant workplace policies and training, what processes should be followed if an employee or other worker complains of discriminatory behaviour, any reporting requirements and of course the potential repercussions of getting it wrong in this area.

This CMS Expert Guide profiles a number of key jurisdictions worldwide, looking both at statutory requirements on employers to prevent discrimination and best practice. We explore the risks and implications to companies of not having a diversity & inclusion (D&I) policy – and how anti-discrimination measures reconcile with personal data protection – particularly in the EU.

Strong anti-discrimination credentials have become a significant element of the ‘social’ pillar of environmental, social and governance (ESG) analysis conducted by investors, recruiters and even would-be employees. So combatting discrimination isn’t just about legal compliance – it’s a commercial and reputational imperative too.

We hope this guide provides the practical roadmap you need to further your business’s anti-discrimination journey – wherever you need to operate in the world. For further legal support and advice in relation to:

  • compliance audits plus assistance in addressing any identified D&I weaknesses
  • full service for drafting company-wide policies and best-practice manuals
  • D&I-focused training for your whole workforce
  • internal investigations and dispute resolution
  • updates and insight to keep you ahead of latest D&I issues affecting your business 

Please reach out to your regular CMS contact or email us at employment@cmslegal.com.