Compliance is hard. Keeping an eye on constantly changing legislation is basically a full-time job, and let’s face it, you’ve got a business to run. Unfortunately, while we totally get it, the law isn’t so favourable; accident or not, non-compliance can come with hefty penalties and even legal action or prison time!
So, is it worth taking that chance? Here are 6 common ways you’re probably not as compliant as you think you are.
1. You’re not addressing unconscious bias
If you’re about to say that you’re not [insert bias here] then that’s great, but it’s not enough. Unconscious bias is much trickier than surface-level opinions; human brains are hard-wired to categorise people on sight, forming instant opinions backed up by stereotypes, which means you need to actively address these in everything you do.
Are you using gendered language in job ads? Did you even know that was a thing? Both men and women unconsciously use masculine language on job ads, which can be off-putting to women and mean you’re missing out on hiring candidates.
Do you treat people better because they sound like you? If a customer complains, do you treat them better because they look smart or have a nice accent?
Make sure you know how to recognise biases in yourself and others, and then put in place appropriate measures to counteract them. Taking a course is a great place to start.
2. ED&I is a tick-box exercise
Sure, you have an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy in your employee handbook; who doesn’t? But is equality just a tick-box exercise for your business, or are you really promoting diversity and building a safe space?
Worryingly, 38% of UK workers say they have been discriminated against. Can you honestly say you or anyone you work with has never:
- Spread rumours about a work colleague?
- Treated someone unfavourably because they raised a complaint?
- Sent an email to publicly criticise a colleague?
- Excluded a disabled or pregnant person from the recruitment process?
These are just a few examples of breaking the Equality Act 2010. It may be subtle, and it may seem innocuous, but victimisation, bullying, or harassment of any kind can be a crime; make sure you and your teams are educated.
3. You’re not acknowledging parents
Understanding your responsibilities as an employer to support pregnant women (and those adopting children) is crucial. Whilst it may be second nature to focus on the needs of the business, you need to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate pregnancy and parental leave.
Disappointingly, discrimination towards mothers and pregnant women is still pretty common. With a fifth of women either being harassed or receiving negative comments around pregnancy from their employer and 1 in 10 being actively discouraged from attending antenatal appointments, according to recent government research.
Treating women differently due to pregnancy or childcare concerns is illegal. Make sure you and your teams are compliant.
4. You didn’t know that GDPR has changed – again
Just when you’d got your head around GDPR, Brexit meant the rules changed all over again! Since leaving the EU, UK personal data is now protected and regulated by the Data Protection Act 2018 and the UK GDPR. Sounds simple, right?
It’s not. If you store or process information on EU citizens or residents – which you almost certainly do – you still need to obey EU GDPR. If you don’t believe us, ask Facebook.
Storing and collecting data can be a minefield to navigate; make sure you have the right processes in place to avoid hefty fines for breaching regulations!
5. You’re not au fait with IR35
Speaking of minefields, if your business works with contractors, you’re probably sick of hearing about the pitfalls of IR35. But whether you’ve hit ‘contractor fatigue’ or not, you need to make sure you comply with the latest rules, because the onus is now on you.
From 6th April 2021, businesses are responsible for judging whether their contractors fall inside or outside the scope of IR35. For medium and large-sized companies, there’s a lot of red tape: contractors need Status Determination Statements; those inside IR35 must go on the payroll, and you must make it clear during your recruitment process if the role is inside or outside IR35 (no more letting the candidate decide!)
Check out our previous blog for more on IR35.
6. You’re a bit too competitive
Making sure you always win at pool is one thing, but competition has a line in business. Competition laws exist to protect everybody: consumers have transparency, and businesses succeed on merit rather than inflated pricing or smear campaigns.
Understanding what competition laws are and what they could mean for your business is crucial to avoiding non-compliance. Let’s keep that playing field level, shall we?
Make compliance engaging
Part of the problem with compliance is that it isn’t sexy or easy to understand, but staying on top of changes and keeping your staff informed is vital.
Ensure your company is compliant by providing interactive and engaging online compliance training from Engage in Learning. Our compliance learning programme will give your employees the knowledge to comply with legislation confidently and help you create a safe workplace for your employees, customers and their data.
If you’re worried directly about any of the topics in this article, see these Engage in Learning courses: