Guidance for businesses

We have been working with smaller businesses to find out how best we can support those that don’t have in-house HR or Legal advice. As a result we have developed a series of guides tailored to the specific needs of small and medium sized businesses.

Smaller businesses operate in an ever more diverse world both at home and abroad. Treating people fairly, with dignity and respect, is at the heart of both the Equality Act and global standards for business’ responsibility to respect human rights.

Workplace policies that prevent discrimination and protect and promote people’s rights to an inclusive and safe working environment can not only reduce costs but enable you to retain and attract the best staff and improve your productivity and performance.

Attention to the diverse needs of customers and their communities could help you to identify new products and markets. Understanding your human rights impacts is important in safeguarding your business reputation in the communities in which it operates and in the wider marketplace.

The Equality Act: Guidance for Small Businesses

This guide helps smaller businesses to understand key legal definitions set out in the Equality Act 2010 and offers practical advice in managing important business challenges and dilemmas.

Equality Act guide part 1Understanding legal definitions of discrimination and unlawful behaviour in the Equality Act.

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Equality Act guide part 2

Your role as an employer under the Equality Act.

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Equality Act guide part 3Your role as a service provider under the Equality Act.

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Guide to business and human rights

This guide to ''business and human rights: how human rights can add value to your business' sets out six key areas that are particularly relevant to smaller businesses. It also sets out a simple model to understand and put in place respect for human rights across the whole of a business' operations and its supply chain.

It draws on research carried out by Middlesex University which found a particular gap in the support available to smaller businesses to understand what is meant by business and human rights and what they can do to ensure respect for human rights. You can also find some short sound bites of businesses talking about how they have adapted to become more human rights focused.

Read the guide and more here


Other guides

Assistance dogs guidance

Business and Service Providers have a legal responsibility to allow registered Assistance dogs to accompany their owner onto their premises. This guide addresses some of the common concerns from business owners in allowing such dogs to enter their restaurant, pub or bed and breakfast for example.

Download PDF Word| Welsh (to follow shortly)

Flexible Working

Adopting a flexible approach has been shown to increase staff commitment and motivation, and to improve relations between employers and employees. It can also allow some businesses to cut costs and increase productivity. This guide will show how flexible working can add value to your business.

Managing the downturn

This guide is about managing the downturn and how to manage redundancy. We started with a guide to the downturn because of the deteriorating economic climate. We understand that sometimes firms will have no option but to shed staff. When this happens we know business owners will want to do it in a way that is fair to all their staff and avoids the waste of time and energy taken up by grievance and tribunal processes.

Pregnancy or maternity and managing redundancy

We have worked with Acas to publish a guide to help employers understand the rights of women who are pregnant or on maternity leave when facing redundancy. The guide outlines what the law says and advice on how to handle the situation correctly.

If you are interested in being alerted or sent copies when we publish new guides, please contact us by email to register your interest.

50 Difficult Questions

Meeting the differing needs of employees is a careful balancing act for small business owners. In dealing with employment issues, you need to be fair to the individual concerned, keep your other employees happy and comply with the law – while at the same time making sure your business can prosper.

Our guide, Straightforward answers to... 50 difficult questions on equality and good employment practice, provides answers to the issues many small business owners tell us they face.

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