Implementing positive action in your workplace

Jigsaw puzzle piece


There are many ways that employers can take positive action, some of which may already be happening in your organisation.

  • By becoming a disability confident organisation, you promote a positive and open culture to support staff with a disability in the workplace. You can access more information on becoming disability confident on our web section.
  • Making reasonable adjustments for a disabled staff member or applicant in the workplace or in recruitment activities would be considered positive action under the Equality Act 2010.
  • Implementing a supported internship is another straightforward way you may also be taking positive action already. Supported internships encourage participation in society of those who may be disproportionately excluded from participating in society.
  • In a recruitment scenario where there are two candidates – one who has a protected characteristic, and one who does not - that are deemed to be equally qualified for a specific role, an employer could offer a role to the individual with protected characteristic. This action is called a tie-break scenario, and is allowed under the Equality Act 2010 to help address historic and social disadvantage.
  • Positive action can be taken to support the development and progression of those who are already in employment where it can be reasonably assumed that because of their protected characteristic they may have reduced or missed opportunities to develop and progress. A good example of a positive action programme aimed at those in employment is the NHS Leadership Academy’s Stepping Up programme, which supports the development of aspiring black and minority ethnic (BME) leaders in the NHS.

Creating a positive data sharing culture

Positive action is best implemented where there is clear and accurate data about the number of staff who hold a protected characteristic. Without this, the effectiveness of any positive action intervention will be limited.

There is a need for improved data collection to ensure that the case for any positive action can be justified in terms of proportionality. Additionally, improved sharing of this data will also support your attainment of standards such as the Workforce Race Equality Standard and Workforce Disability Equality Standard.

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