The role of advocacy in supporting equality in the workplace
Anti-discrimination legislation, as enshrined in the 2010 Equality Act, is defined as the protection of ‘the rights of individuals’ and advancement of ‘equality of opportunity for all’. Within the act, equality issues are subdivided into nine major areas:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- religion or belief
- sexual orientation
Life versus law
Supporting equality of opportunity and protecting against discrimination is never as simple as drafting legislation, of course. Individuals, businesses and organisations need to be educated to understand anti-discriminatory and equality of opportunity laws, and how they apply to the above categories. Individuals also need to know their rights as employees, and they need to have the means and skills to defend these rights.
This is often problematic. How does a person with a serious learning disability defend themselves against disability discrimination in the workplace, or a non-native English speaker, or a gay person unconfident in speaking openly about their sexuality, or someone with extreme social anxiety?
The power of employment advocacy
An independent advocate can support you in exploring your rights, expressing your opinions and experiences and making considered decisions in confronting discrimination.
They allow you to operate from a position of knowledge and strength, fully informed of your rights. Professional advocates will be trained and experienced across a broad range of discrimination issues, relating to culture, disability, race, age, religion, gender, sexuality, maternity and marriage.
Your advocate can correspond, and speak, with your employer, colleagues and manager on your behalf. If you do wish to represent yourself in any discrimination hearing, he or she can also mentor you in self-advocacy.
Your advocate will neither judge you nor tell you what to do, but will provide you with the support and information which allows you to make your own decisions with confidence, and confront discrimination on your own terms, never judging you on the actions that you decide to take.
Contact us for more information about how we can support you speak with Ryan at Centre for Resolution now and see the clear road ahead. Sessions can take place face to face, via the telephone or Skype.