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Calendar Women and Men; Discrimination at Work

When writing this article, it would have been very easy for us to talk about ‘calendar girls’.  When most of us think about risqué calendars in the workplace, we think about scantily clad women.  But a browse through many of the calendar stores, most frequently filling the shopping centres each December, shows there are just as many male-equivalent calendars out there.  

We’re sure such calendars will have never been a feature in some work places but, for some employers, it’s custom and practice to see such images displayed.  Allowing such images to adorn the walls of your workplace is, undoubtedly, discriminatory but for those who are used to seeing such images, the thought probably never enters one’s mind.  We therefore bring you some food for thought of this infrequently discussed topic.

1. Allowing risqué calendars to be displayed in the workplace exposes employers to claims from staff of discrimination.  Females or males may take offence to being subjected to such images at work.

2. With discrimination, it’s not about the intent behind the images; the key determining factor is the effect such images have on an individual.  What one person views as good natured, another can take extreme offence to.

3. Any staff member who feels they are subjected to inappropriate images, banter or behaviour in the workplace, has the right to raise a grievance.  Grievances can take significant management time to address.

4. Just because your present workforce has no issue with the calendars displayed, you need to think about potential employees in the future.  A job applicant visiting your premises, who sees such a calendar displayed, could have a claim against you for discrimination even without working for you.

5. By failing to prevent staff from displaying such images, you are readily exposing your business to claims of discrimination.  Staff can pursue discrimination claims while still in your employment.

6. Don’t forget about visitors to your premises, be it temporary workers, professionals, customers or potential customers.  Discrimination claims can be raised by workers and non-staff members.

I’m sure some people reading this article will think we’re stating the obvious, with others thinking it’s just ‘political correctness’ gone too far.  But, as experts in advising employers on minimising the risks of employment tribunal claims, we bring you this guidance to highlight the exposure to businesses who may have displayed such images for decades.

As part of the services we provide to employers, our myHR outsourced HR and employment law support retainer service allows us to guide employers through grievances with ease.  In addition to the legal advice we give, we draft the necessary letters and provide practical advice on how the employer can manage such situations more effectively going forward.

Here at SCE Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience in assisting employers on all issues of discrimination in the workplace.  If you would like to discuss a discrimination, training your staff on equal opportunities or any other employment law issue, please contact us on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

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