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Acas publishes new guide to help combat sex discrimination in the workplace

Monday 04 April 2016

Workplace experts, Acas, have launched a new guide to help employers and managers identify, tackle and prevent sex discrimination in the workplace.

Over the past year, the Acas helpline has dealt with over 7,000 calls related to sex discrimination in the workplace.

The new guidance will help employers and managers get to grips with the laws around equality and to be aware of any behaviour that could be considered as sex discrimination.

Acas Chair Sir Brendan Barber said:

"Sex discrimination is unlawful and it's worrying that so many people have called the Acas helpline about it. Nine out of ten calls came from employees and the overwhelming majority of these callers were women.

"We have published a new free guide to help employers, small businesses and managers understand the basics around equality law, the different types of sex discrimination and awareness of how positive action can apply to certain jobs.

"It is important to be fully aware of the rules around equality within the workplace as falling on the wrong side of the law could result in a costly employment tribunal."

The new Acas guide 'pdf icon Sex discrimination: key points for the workplace [472kb]' covers the basics of sex discrimination as defined within the Equality Act.

Sex discrimination can apply to men or women. It can happen between members of the opposite sex but it is also just as unlawful for a man to discriminate against another man as it is for a woman to discriminate against another woman due to their sex.

The guidance includes best practice advice around how to deal with the six common workplace areas where sex discrimination can occur.

  • Recruitment.
  • Pay, terms and conditions of employment.
  • Promotion opportunities.
  • Training opportunities.
  • Dismissals.
  • Redundancies.

The full guidance is available at Sex discrimination.

Notes to editors

  1. The Acas Helpline answered 7175 calls related to sex discrimination from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016. 91% of these calls were from employees and 8.3% of these calls were from employers. Of the employee calls, 78.7% were from women and 21.2% were from men.
  2. Acas stands for Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. Acas provides free and impartial information and advice to employers and employees on all aspects of workplace relations and employment law. We support good relationships between employers and employees which underpin business success. We also provide good value, high quality training and tailored advice to employers. Our expertise is based on millions of contacts with employers and employees each year. Acas is an independent and impartial statutory body governed by a Council made up of members from business, trade unions, academia and the law.
  3. For media enquiries please contact Shumon Ali-Rahman, Senior Media Manager on 0207 210 3688 or For out of hours media enquiries please call the out of hours duty press officer on 020 7210 3600.