Experts warn City to act over discriminatory work practices

City
HR departments need to implement more stringent pay reviews and adopt clearer
performance targets to create greater equality and halt the growth in
discrimination claims, experts warn.

Discrimination
claims were thrown into the limelight again earlier this month when the case of
a former Merrill Lynch banker, who is claiming a record £7.8m for gender bias,
began in South London.

Speaking
at a roundtable event this week, Caroline Slocock, chief executive of the Equal
Opportunities Commission, said: "The UK finance sector must face up to the
fact that it has the widest gender pay gap of any industrial sector – a
situation that needs to be tackled urgently.

“When
a company loses an equal pay case it loses more than its reputation as a fair
employer – doubt is also cast on its ability to manage its business
effectively.”

Ros
McIntyre, of Vivid Change Partnership, said: “Employers need to be clear about
what performance they want so they can distinguish between employees that are
being subjected to discrimination and those who are simply failing to perform.”

Vic
Daniels, director at HR consultancy DBM, said employers and individuals need
more detailed and transparent performance criteria. “HR professionals need to
implement more formalised guidelines, more stringent recording and policies
specific to equal opportunities,” he said.

By
Daniel Thomas

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