Global employers are increasingly focused on anti-discrimination and equality policies and practices as these are considered the ‘social’ pillar of ESG – beyond legal compliance, combating discrimination has become a commercial and reputational imperative too. While most, if not all, of our member companies have global anti-discrimination policies or principles in place, laws regarding discrimination and equality vary significantly from country to country and change over time. To help navigate the changes, CMS has provided a useful guide on discrimination in the workplace covering 23 key jurisdictions, including reporting requirements and risks of not having a D&I policy.
The guide includes following ten questions:
What are the main laws on discrimination in the workplace in your jurisdiction and what type of conduct does it cover?
Which characteristics are protected by these laws (is sexual orientation a protected characteristic?), and what type of employment relationships are covered – employee, worker, platform worker?
What remedies are available to an individual if they are subject to discrimination in the workplace, and what level of compensation might be awarded?
What steps such as policies, training etc (if any) are employers required to put in place to prevent discrimination in the workplace?
Is a D&I Policy a legal requirement or best practice?
Are there any risks in not having a local D&I policy? Any reputational risks and ESG consequences?
Are employers required to report on pay transparency or gender/ethnic/disability pay gaps?
Are there any data protection rules that affect the processing and retention of diversity data, and what do they say?
Are there any quotas at board level or below, and if so, what do they relate to?
Are there any corporate governance rules that relate to D&I, and what do they say?
Outlook: In recent years, social movements continue to reshape legislations, regulations, and enforcement regarding discrimination in the workplace. More countries require pay transparency disclosure while key stakeholders, including employees, customers, and investors expect companies to do more on a global scale.