What does Dignity at Work actually mean? Well it can mean a number of different things to different people. A couple of examples are treating others how you would like to be treated and treating others with respect. Most cases of a violation of someone’s dignity involve some form of bullying and harassment, which is often related to sex/race/age/religious belief or sexual orientation.  By far the biggest cause we see in our day to day work is sex discrimination although age discrimination is now starting to creep into our work since the inception of the Age Discrimination laws last October 2006.

For those of you who missed our Podcast on the new laws this is still available on under Podcasts on our site.  As a firm we value Dignity at Work and train our clients and their teams on Dignity at Work. Many companies have a Dignity at Work or Equal Opportunities policy but how many actually live and breathe Dignity at Work.  To me the answer is not many.

When I am carrying out employment law training to clients and their teams the most controversal subject is always discrimination. Even where companies have a policy, many employees have no comprehension as to the fact that their “pet names” for people or their “jokes” could cause offence. It comes as even more of a shock to them when I tell them that not only can the Company be vicariously liable for their actions as employees, but they could also be personally liable for their actions. Another cause of shock is that it is the perception of the victim not the intentions of the perpetrator that are revelant. 

The hope is that they come away from the training with a better understanding of employment law but also about the effects their actions can have on others.  These clients understand that having a policy is not enough, their staff need training around the policy subject in order to promote a culture of “Dignity at Work”. Some clients opt for our group training which is bespoke to them and others (in increasing numbers) are turning to our e-learning package Dignity at Work.  For more information on your options visit our training and e-learning sections to the right of the Blog.

The importance of the subject is shown by the formation of the Dignity at Work Partnership between the DTI and Amicus to try to tackle the problem of bullying and harassment. Organisations can sign up to the policy and follow in the footsteps of BT and Royal Mail who have already signed up.  More information can be found here