Equality and Diversity is a legal obligation to protect against discrimination in the workplace. Essentially Equality and Diversity is the practice of ensuring that no individual or group is treated or regarded any differently on the basis of specified protected characteristics such as gender, race, religion/beliefs, disability, age or sexuality.
Equality and Diversity in the workplace is all about fostering an environment in which everybody is given the chance to reach their full potential free from discrimination or prejudice. Having a diverse workforce means that businesses have the opportunity to pull from a wide range of ideas, skills, and resources because there is a much wider pool of talent available to choose from. Perhaps it goes without saying, then, that organisations that invest in developing an inclusive workplace can expect a more harmonious working environment, with improved productivity, and where everybody is encouraged to work together towards business objectives.
More than this, however, it’s also true that there are certain legal requirements under existing legislation that were put in place to discourage discrimination in the workplace – particularly with regard to certain protected characteristics (these are: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, and sexual preference). Discrimination which takes place because of one or more of these characteristics is illegal and – since we all have one or more of these characteristics – this legislation protects us all.