Employers have a legal duty to ensure that they do not treat an individual less favourably on any grounds related to their age, gender, marital status, disability, race/nationality, sexual orientation, religious belief or political opinion.
Fair treatment is not just a moral and legal obligation but makes good business sense. Employers who treat employees fairly will be best placed to recruit and retain staff in an increasingly diverse and competitive labour market.
Disciplinary procedures are used for dealing with problems with employees' conduct or their performance, which could lead to warnings or dismissal.
When replies to the job advertisement have been received, it is appropriate to:
• match applications against the job description and person specification;
• eliminate applicants who do not have the basic requirements for the job; and
• draw up a shortlist of candidates for interview.
All pregnant employees are entitled to time off to keep appointments for antenatal care made on the advice of a registered medical practitioner, registered midwife or registered health visitor.
A person in a qualifying relationship with the pregnant employee is entitled to unpaid time off work to accompany the expectant mother to two antenatal appointments.
These Regulations extend the existing Sex Discrimination legislation to cover discrimination on the grounds of gender reassignment.
An employer may decide to suspend an employee temporarily from work if they are involved in a disciplinary situation, or for maternity or medical reasons. Usually an employee who is suspended is entitled to their normal pay during their suspension.
The Regulations relate to the remedies that can be granted for cases of sex discrimination and specifically to remedies for indirect discrimination even where the respondent did not intend to treat the claimant unfavourably on sex or marital status grounds.
Under provisions set out in the Employment Rights (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 and regulations made under it, all employees have a statutory right to ask their employer for a change to their contractual terms and conditions of employment to work flexibly.