Today’s post is a brief one to highlight a few recent sources of advice given that may be useful points of reference for trade union representatives and others assisting workers.
ACAS have published updated advice on suspensions at work which is available at https://www.acas.org.uk/suspension-during-an-investigation. The advice is by no means ground-breaking but it will nevertheless be one useful to refer to employers, especially employers of the ‘suspend now in all cases’ or the ‘suspend and then ignore and leave employee in the wilderness’ school of employer. At the risk of turning the post into a rant it is underwhelming that ACAS have, yet again, opted for a non-statutory guidance when this could be given much more force by incorporating into a new expanded Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures to which an employment tribunal would be required to have due regard to in any employment tribunal litigation. It is very much in keeping with ACAS’ preference for light-touch and non-interventionism that this has been published as website advice only. Still, a useful source to be aware of.
Probably of more use to trade unionists rather than individual employees is EHRC’s guidance on the use of artificial intelligence in recruitment and how this intersects with discrimination in recruitment. The use of AI in recruitment processes is expanding and it is useful for worker representatives to be aware of this trend and the potential implications. We have been conditioned to think in terms of human unconscious bias as being the source of much discrimination but without getting into the consciousness debate much of the same thing can happen in AI reliant processes. In 2018 for example, Amazon famously discontinued an AI recruitment process after it became clear the prevalence of male applications for certain types of role had been recognised and adopted by the system itself, meaning women were more likely to be screened out of recruitment processes. The EHRC is not an easy read but, for union reps who collectively bargain on recruitment matters (which if the union is recognised should apply to most workplaces) it is an important issue to be aware of in the bargaining process.
Finally, much less recent but by no means less relevant, is the website Stammering Law. I attended a training session with the Free Representation Unit recently and this website was one that was highlighted as being a great resource. I wholeheartedly endorse that recommendation. Although on the face of it focussed primarily on the those with a stammer and how disability law can assist the website is in reality of much wider appeal. For many years the website has been a great resource for me on understanding disability law so, if you regularly advise workers in disability discrimination issues this is a great website to bookmark.
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