Covid-19 Update: The latest effects of coronavirus on your legal rights and our service.

Complete the form below to ask us a question or make an enquiry. We’ll get back to you via phone or email as soon as possible.


Importance for employers to have up-to-date equality training

Posted on 17th February 2021 in Employment

Posted by

Stephen Jennings

Partner and Solicitor
Importance for employers to have up-to-date equality training

Many employers will not have prioritised training over the last few months, but a decision from the Employment Appeal Tribunal highlights the risks of falling behind.

When defending a discrimination claim arising out of the actions of an employee, employers often rely on a statutory defence that they should not be liable as they had taken 'all reasonable steps' to avoid the discrimination occurring.  However a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case alerts employers to their obligations with respect to tackling bullying, discrimination, and harassment in the workplace, and in particular, focuses on the need to review and refresh relevant training and policies frequently.

In the case of Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld a decision of the employment tribunal that the employer could not rely on the statutory defence relating to the discriminatory actions of its employees, as the equality and diversity training delivered to employees 20 months prior to the harassment was "stale" and ineffective, and there was evidence that the training was insubstantial and that employees had forgotten it.


How can we help?

In the event that an employer seeks to rely on the 'all reasonable steps' defence the proof lies with the employer to show that it took all reasonable steps to prevent the relevant employee(s) from committing the acts in question.

For an employer to show that it merely has relevant policies in place and provides equality and diversity training to its employees is not enough. Employers must be able to demonstrate that they provided employees with effective materials to prevent discrimination, bullying, and harassment in the workplace, and subsequently took any necessary steps to make sure that the training was impactful.

To ensure employers are taking 'all reasonable steps' they should consider the quantity and quality of the training they provide to their employees. With further reasonable steps including offering refresher training and update stale policies. 

As compensation for discrimination claims can be costly, now might be the time to review how up-to-date your employees’ equality and diversity training is.


For help and support on anything covered in this insight please talk to one of our expert Employment team.

Contact our legal experts



Paper plane


Get the latest news straight from our legal experts.

Subscribe to our newsletter to recieve current, dedicated, suppport and guidance from our solicitors straight to your inbox, wherever you are.

Company & Industry

Related Insights


What should Employers be doing when returning to the office?

Posted on 10th May 2022 in Employment

The pandemic has accelerated the trend of working from home but with the lifting of restrictions and workplaces reopening, employers are now having to think about what approach should be adopted when it comes to future work arrangements.

Posted by

Mai Mbye


Employers right to work checks change on April 6th

Posted on 06th April 2022 in Employment

From 6 April employers right to work checks will change. Physical cards will no longer be accepted as part of the right to work checking process and checks will have to be done online via the Home Office online checking service.

Posted by

Joanna Parry

Associate and Solicitor