PracticeAccounting FirmsWork policies fail to address discrimination

Work policies fail to address discrimination

Companies' attempts to tackle workplace discrimination are falling woefully short of the mark, prompting suggestions that the industry is choosing to bury the issue.

Link: 2004 salary survey

Last week, we revealed that almost a third of the 2,953 respondents to the Accountancy Age/Robert Half Accounting & Finance salary survey had been on the receiving end of workplace prejudice, with gender, age and race discrimination cited as major causes for concern.

In-depth analysis now reveals that those organisations with equality and diversity policies in place suffer almost as badly, with 28% of respondents from those companies saying they have been discriminated against at work.

A staggering 37% of those in the 46 to 65 age group said they had experienced discrimination, despite working for a company that had explicit equality and diversity policies in place.

Jacki Ward, HR director at BDO Stoy Hayward, said she was not surprised by the figures: ‘A lot of other companies are choosing to bury the issues, as well as pay lip service.’

Murdoch McKillop, ICAS president, described the findings as ‘very surprising’.

‘ICAS is against all forms of discrimination, but sometimes it can be hard for some people aged around 50 to be recognised.’

The government has promised to issue draft regulations surrounding the age discrimination law, which is due to come into force in 2006, amid fears that companies are delaying introducing policies the legislation is clarified.

Sam Mercer, director of the Employers Forum on Age, said: ‘People simply don’t accept that age discrimination is wrong. Our first job is to make people realise that it’s as bad as race or sex discrimination.’

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