The Equal Opportunities Commission is launching a ‘Carry On Equality’
campaign to inform people about sex discrimination law and the role of the EOC.
Julie Mellor, chairwoman of EOC, said she hopes the campaign, which is based
on the Carry On films, will reach people who might not otherwise know what
their rights are. "If you’re being sexually harassed at work, or paid less
than a man doing the same job, there’s no need to carry on regardless – there
are places to go for confidential advice."
She said progress has been made since 1961 – the year the film Carry On
Regardless was made. Back then, women earned on average less than 60p for every
£1 a man earned in a year, and sexual harassment wasn’t even recognised as an
issue. But, she said, sex discrimination hasn’t gone away – women are still
only earning 71p for a man’s £1, and sexual harassment in the workplace remains
a real problem.
The campaign will see advertisements run in the national press and will also
highlight the costs of tribunal cases to employers and raise awareness of the
free, practical advice available.
Mellor said: "Employers need access to quality information on their
legal responsibilities so that they can put in place policies that prevent
discrimination, or if complaints do arise, sit down with their employees to
find a workable solution to the problem.
"When employers fail to tackle the problem, they run the real risk of
costly tribunal claims, not to mention the hidden cost of sex discrimination –
losing staff who are not happy at work."
Recent figures show there were more than 24,000 applications to employment
tribunals last year relating to sex discrimination or equal pay. The average
award in these cases was £19,279.
By Quentin Reade