Gateley launches Diversity, Equity and Inclusion compliance audit

Insight shared by:

Gateley Legal, Kiddy & Partners & T-three

We are proud to announce the launch of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) compliance audit, creating a one-stop shop for businesses to assess their ability to prevent discrimination and harassment, benchmark their policies and processes, assess their progress on DEI and create an inclusive culture.

The launch of the DEI audit comes at a time where legislation relating to diversity, equity and inclusion is increasing for employers.

Due to come into force in October 2024, the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act 2023, introduces a new legal duty on all employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. Employment tribunals will have a new power to increase sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% if the employer has failed to comply with the new duty. Elsewhere, legislation such as The Carer’s Leave Regulations 2024 and Paternity Leave (Amendment) Regulations 2024 (Paternity Leave Regulations) will also require employers to consider DEI more carefully in their workplace.

As part of the audit, Gateley Legal’s team of experts, along with our leading change and culture specialists, t-three, and business psychologists, Kiddy & Partners, will conduct a deep-dive review through a DEI lens of an organisation’s relevant processes and procedures. This will include reviewing the organisation’s contracts of employment and training materials, looking at how perceptions and behaviours are aligned to these in order to build a 360-view of an organisation’s current level of DEI effectiveness.

After the review, the team will provide in-depth, specific advice and support to build a robust DEI approach to implement within the organisation, helping to meet ‘reasonable steps’ requirements and then move beyond compliance into a ‘mature’ organisational approach to DEI. The team will also flag any live risks that organisations may be unaware of and suggest actions to address them. The audit, and subsequent DEI programme that organisations will benefit from, will help significantly with mitigating legal risks, improving employee recruitment and retention, as well as creating a culture that’s inclusive for all.

Andrew Macmillan, head of our People Platform and employment partner at Gateley Legal, said: “The aim of our DEI compliance audit is to help organisations navigate the challenging legal landscape by creating robust and effective DEI programmes, which should mean that they see, over time, issues around harassment and other discriminatory behaviour become less prevalent or frequent, with generally less serious or costly legal issues arising.

“A DEI programme is more than a tick-box exercise; it should allow colleagues to see diversity, equity and inclusion as essential to everything the organisation does, running through the core of every team and department and our audit will help to bring that to the fore and highlight any gaps.

“DEI is becoming a more pressing legal obligation for employers to contend with alongside the reputational concerns it can create, as well as the requirements customers, suppliers and other third parties may impose. With the Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Act coming into effect in October, employers will have to proactively take steps to prevent sexual harassment in their workplace. If they fail to do so, the Equality and Human Rights Commission may take action against them.

“By having a robust DEI programme in place, employers will be in a better position to ensure that not only do they comply with the law, but more importantly that employees can thrive in a safe and supportive working environment.”

In keeping with the service lines already offered by the employment team at Gateley Legal, the DEI compliance audit is available to organisations of all sizes from across all industries.

Gateley Plc is authorised and regulated by the SRA (Solicitors' Regulation Authority). Please visit the SRA website for details of the professional conduct rules which Gateley Legal must comply with.

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