Equality advice and guidance
In this page:
- National agreements and general guidance
- Age discrimination
- Disability discrimination
- Gender discrimination
- Homophobia and transphobia
- Racism and religious discrimination
New tools for equality negotiations
This guide brings together key tools you can use for progressing all equality negotiations: the moral case; the business case; the legal case; the public sector equality duty; monitoring; chartermarks; equal pay audits; and national equality agreements: General tools for equality
Devolved Nations - Equality differences briefing
This briefing outlines some of the different legislation and approach to equalities in the devolved nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Caring for Carers
A new guide aimed at giving support to an estimated 315,000 working age Carers in the UK. 'Caring for Carers: a UCU guide for members and reps', gives an overview of the issues facing working Carers, their rights and how branches can offer support to members who may have difficulty in managing their Caring responsibilities with work responsibilities.
Public sector equality duties toolkit
The public sector equality duty came into force on 5 April 2011 and is supported by specific duties. These came into force in England on 10 September 2011. Please consult these toolkits for advice on the law, and how your institution should be responding.
If you have suffered race discrimination: member guidance [158kb] (opens in a new window) - a short leaflet which can given to any member who feels that they have experienced racial discrimination at work
The TUC has also produced a briefing which is available for download here (pdf) or a Word version is available here: TUC Equality Act 2010 briefing [249kb] (opens in a new window)
UCU supports the current legal position of there being no default retirement age. Since October 2011 it has not been legal for employers to enforce retirement at a certain age, subject to justification for locally setting such an age related condition (see below). The default retirement age before October 2011 was 65. There were many complaints from UCU members who prior to October 2011 had retirement enforced before they wanted to leave employment.
UCU supports the TUC position that everyone should have the right to retire with dignity and a decent pension.
The change in legislation about retirement has engaged a cultural change in the way career lives can be considered. From a 'countdown culture' or lineal pattern to a more cyclical pattern where people may consider, for example, more flexible working patterns suitable at different points in the lives. UCU is committed to understanding the impact of flexible working as part of our work on social sustainability at work which continues. In 2010 we were part of a project with two other European countries: Quality in academia and life: A joint strategy to improve work-life balance by GEW, UCU and SULF [1Mb]
For further information please contact Seth Atkin.
See the Equality Challenge Unit website for more information including some significant legal cases.
Occupational and state pensions still have an age entitlement, check your pension scheme for their age related terms and conditions.
There is provision for locally established retirement age if it can be justified. Grounds for justification are based on the functioning of the business in relation to the impact on individuals. The grounds for justification have been tested in various court cases which can be used to support cases. For up to date information on justification please refer to this age discrimination website. It is possible to find other age related cases navigating from this page.
This briefing looks at the issues that disabled, young and older people have in using shared space.
Performance management and sickness absence for disabled workers
This briefing for branches is about sickness absence and performance management of disabled workers. The briefing outlines main issues facing disabled workers.
Enabling not Disabling
This briefing is designed as a guide to UCU branches and local associations on the rights of UCU's disabled members. This guide was updated in November 2015 and includes legislation from Equality Act 2010:
New guidebook on the social model of disability
The TUC has published a new guidebook on the social model of disability to help unions and their members improve equality for disabled people within unions and in the workplace. You can download the 13 page guide here (pdf).
In addition, Peter Purton, Equality Rights Policy Officer at the TUC has written a blog summarising the reasons for using the social model of disability. You can read his blog here.
Guidance on reasonable adjustments
UCU has produced guidance for members on reasonable adjustments. This was developed with the UCU disabled members' standing committee, and provides information, examples and resources on your right to reasonable adjustments and how to negotiate for them in your branch. You can download the guidance below.
Reasonable adjustments - removing barriers to disabled people at work: UCU guidance [126kb] (opens in a new window)
Reasonable adjustments - removing barriers to disabled people at work: UCU guidance [114kb] (opens in a new window)
Disclosing a disability
This guide outlines some of the advantages that disclosure can trigger when related to current equality and employment law, when you are obliged to disclose a disability and when you are not, and some of the wider issues around creating a culture and a working environment where people feel able to disclose.
UCU briefing on disability leave. Institutions should have a separate policy for disability leave, and this brief guide provides some useful definitions, guidance and links around what disability leave is and how it differs to regular sick leave.
One in Four - a briefing on mental health at work
UCU has produced a briefing on mental health at work entitled One in Four, reflecting the one in four people who will experience some kind of mental health condition in the course of a year. It is intended to assist branches in supporting members who may need mental health support and seeks to offer practical advice and guidance for branch representatives, including health and safety representatives.
Individuals needing mental health support will face their own unique challenges and many may need little or no changes to their working environment. However, understanding their needs and being able to advise and support members is paramount to ensuring that the stigma, stereotypes and discrimination associated with mental health are addressed.
You can download the briefing here, or contact the Equality department for a hard copy at firstname.lastname@example.org: One in Four - a UCU briefing on mental health at work, Jun 11 [103kb] (opens in a new window)
Supporting members with mental health conditions and issues
UCU has published guidance for reps in representing members in cases involving mental health conditions and issues. You can download the guide below, or contact email@example.com for a hard copy.
Supporting members with mental health conditions and issues: UCU branch toolkit [265kb] (opens in a new window)
Supporting members with equality issues - a briefing paper for all branches and caseworkers prepared by the UCU Disabled Members' Standing Committee and the Working Group for Mental Health.
Supporting members with equality issues: a briefing paper for all branches and caseworkers, Apr 14 [90kb] (opens in a new window) Supporting members with mental health conditions and issues: UCU branch toolkit [265kb] (opens in a new window)
Briefing on OCD for reps
UCU has produced guidance for branches on OCD. You can download the guidance below.
TUC guide on sickness benefit and disability discrimination
Comprehensive guide to tackling disability discrimination at work
This guide has been updated to include the changes brought about by the Equality Act 2010 and the new Public Sector Equality Duties.
This resource presents current information about HIV and AIDS. The resource gives advice to UCU branches about how to ensure supportive conditions in the workplace for people living and working with HIV.
Shared parental leave guidance spring 2015
Maternity rights for fixed-term contracts and casually employed staff
This guide briefly outlines maternity rights on fixed-term and casual contracts.
Action Against Violence Against Women June 2014
This guidance is for UCU branch officers supporting members experiencing violence at home and in the workplace
Gender identity: awareness and actions for equality
The purpose of this guide is to raise awareness about gender identity, including gender reassignment, and to identify actions that employers can take to promote and advance gender identity equality.
TUC guidance: LGBT equality at work
The position of lesbian,gay, bisexual and transgender (LGB and T) people in Britain has been transformed beyond recognition in the course of a single generation. However, the problems that remain are substantial and trade unions, which have played a major part in winning the improvements gained in recent years, still have work to do.
LGBT Equality at Work (Third Edition) provides a context for LGBT equality issues today with sections covering:
- Using the right language
- The Law and LGB and T people
- Workplace issues and good practice
- Trans workplace issues
- Monitoring: why and how
- Challenging prejudice, promoting equality
- Resources: help and advice
View and download: LGBT Equality at Work, Third Edition, 2013
Information about the Forum for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Equality can be found at the forum website here: http://sgforum.org.uk
LGBT members' international experiences
UCU would like to collect feedback from our LGBT members about their experiences whilst working abroad for their institution.
LGBT workers have a right to expect to be protected from discrimination under the terms of the Equality Act and their institution's equality policy. However, during the course of working for your college or university it is possible that you may find yourself working abroad, either on a short visit or longer term basis. Sometimes you may not have a choice over where you end up. Sometimes this will mean working in a country or environment that is non-LGBT friendly.
The Forum for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in Post-School Education has published guidance on trans equality in post-school education. You can download it below.
Black members' survival guide
UCU has published the Black Members' Survival Guide. It provides vital information, advice and support for black members to defend their rights at work, progress in their careers and combat discrimination and racism in the workplace. It contains information on union structures, what to do if you are being discriminated against, the law, as well as guidance on applying for jobs and promotion and progression.
You can download the pamphlet below, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a hard copy.
UCU religious attire policy
UK Uncapped - points based immigration guidance
UK Uncapped is a broad, trade union-based campaign against the temporary migration cap that the government has created, and against the effects of the cap and the points-based immigration system on the area of education, business, workers' rights, human rights and economic growth. Visit the site to learn more and lend your support.
Guidance to members on points based immigration
UCU report - the impact of points based immigration
This report was commissioned by the UCU's Equality Committee in the context of the union's campaign against the points-based immigration system and immigration cap. It is part of UCU's commitment to a working and teaching environment free of discriminations, open to all and encouraging mutual understanding and discovery.
Impact of points based immigration: UCU report, May 12 [773kb] (opens in a new window)