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Preventing Sex Discrimination in the Workplace

With Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner having faced claims that she attempted to distract the Prime Minister by ‘crossing and uncrossing her legs’ in the House of Commons, we take a look at preventing sex discrimination in the workplace.

Sex Discrimination

Sex discrimination occurs when someone is treated unfairly for reasons relating to their sex. Although illegal in the UK for many years, the law is now incorporated into the Equality Act 2010.

Sexism can occur at any time within the workplace and businesses have a responsibility to tackle the issue to not only to improve staff wellbeing but also to build upon the diversity of a business. Studies show that companies who have an expansive and diverse workforce are more likely to outperform their competitors.

There are a number of ways you can eliminate gender bias in your company

  1. Have a Clear Policy on Discrimination

Ensuring your staff have a clear and unbiased way to report any instances of sexism or inappropriate behaviour within the workplace. An effective policy will support to prohibit discrimination and harassment based on all protected classes. It will make it clear that offensive jokes, name-calling, stereotyping, bullying, sexual harassment, inappropriate touching, and other forms discrimination will not be tolerated.

Communicate these policies with your staff and make sure they are aware of the serious nature of occurring an offence in relation to discrimination or sexist behaviour.

  1. Train and Educate your Team

Some of your staff may not know that a passing comment could be deemed misogynistic or inappropriate. If your employees aren’t aware of an issue, they won’t make a change.

With education and a clear definition of what is acceptable and what isn’t, your staff will have the awareness of what gender bias looks like and how to best identify it as inappropriate.

  1. Be Transparent with your Statistics

Consider whether you can report on your statistics when it comes to gender transparently. A clear plan on how you are going to improve this can help close the gender bias gap.

In the UK, employers with over 250 employees must report their gender pay gap data, although some smaller businesses choose to collect and report this data voluntarily.

Choosing to report your gender pay gap information can send a strong message about your commitment to transparency and equality. Regardless of whether you choose to publish, gender pay disparity is an important metric for leaders to monitor closely.


Businesses should ensure preventive measures are in place to stop cases of sexism and misogyny in the workplace. Awareness is key, however it may be difficult for your business to define exactly what is workplace sexism.

Consider, how confident are you in your knowledge of sexism in the workplace? Are you able to use this insight to prevent issues occurring?

If you would like to find out any further information about preventing sex discrimination in the workplace, contact our expert HR Team.

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