Bridging the gap: an exploration of the use and impact of positive action in the UK

Hdl Handle:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/600634
Title:
Bridging the gap: an exploration of the use and impact of positive action in the UK
Authors:
Davies, Chantal ( 0000-0002-0532-7366 ) ; Robison, Muriel
Abstract:
Despite laws in Britain permitting limited positive action initiatives to combat disadvantage faced by minority groups in employment since the mid-1970s, the subject has notoriously been a neglected and highly controversial area in the UK. Notwithstanding the potential provided by sections 158 and 159 of the Equality Act 2010, it still appears that organisations prefer to steer clear of this opportunity to address disadvantage suffered by protected groups. Whilst there is a body of work considering the theoretical importance of positive action in the UK, there is a lack of empirical exploration of the practical implications of these provisions. This paper will provide a brief overview of the theoretical context and current positive action legislative provisions within the UK. In light of this context, the early findings of a small-scale qualitative study carried out by the authors will be discussed looking at the experiences of a purposive sample of public and private employers in relation to the positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010. Early research findings suggest that whilst there was a clear willingness and openness by employers to use of outreach measures in order to redress disadvantage, there was evident wariness regarding a move towards preferential treatment as expounded by section 159. Whilst respondents appeared to appreciate the business case for and utility of the positive action measures under section 158, there was far less enthusiasm for more direct preferential treatment, with many respondents raising serious concerns regarding this. These concerns often reflected a highly sensitive risk-based approach towards any action that could expose their organisation to the possibility of “reverse discrimination”.
Affiliation:
University of Chester
Citation:
Davies, C. M., & Robison, M. (2016). Bridging the gap: An exploration of the use and impact of positive action in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, 16(2-3), 83-101. doi: 10.1177/1358229116655647
Publisher:
Sage
Journal:
International Journal of Discrimination and the Law
Publication Date:
27-Jun-2016
URI:
http://hdl.handle.net/10034/600634
DOI:
10.1177/1358229116655647
Additional Links:
http://jdi.sagepub.com/
Type:
Article
Language:
en
ISSN:
1358-2291
EISSN:
2047-9468
Appears in Collections:
Law

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorDavies, Chantalen
dc.contributor.authorRobison, Murielen
dc.date.accessioned2016-03-04T15:16:10Zen
dc.date.available2016-03-04T15:16:10Zen
dc.date.issued2016-06-27en
dc.identifier.citationDavies, C. M., & Robison, M. (2016). Bridging the gap: An exploration of the use and impact of positive action in the United Kingdom. International Journal of Discrimination and the Law, 16(2-3), 83-101. doi: 10.1177/1358229116655647en
dc.identifier.issn1358-2291en
dc.identifier.doi10.1177/1358229116655647-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10034/600634en
dc.description.abstractDespite laws in Britain permitting limited positive action initiatives to combat disadvantage faced by minority groups in employment since the mid-1970s, the subject has notoriously been a neglected and highly controversial area in the UK. Notwithstanding the potential provided by sections 158 and 159 of the Equality Act 2010, it still appears that organisations prefer to steer clear of this opportunity to address disadvantage suffered by protected groups. Whilst there is a body of work considering the theoretical importance of positive action in the UK, there is a lack of empirical exploration of the practical implications of these provisions. This paper will provide a brief overview of the theoretical context and current positive action legislative provisions within the UK. In light of this context, the early findings of a small-scale qualitative study carried out by the authors will be discussed looking at the experiences of a purposive sample of public and private employers in relation to the positive action provisions of the Equality Act 2010. Early research findings suggest that whilst there was a clear willingness and openness by employers to use of outreach measures in order to redress disadvantage, there was evident wariness regarding a move towards preferential treatment as expounded by section 159. Whilst respondents appeared to appreciate the business case for and utility of the positive action measures under section 158, there was far less enthusiasm for more direct preferential treatment, with many respondents raising serious concerns regarding this. These concerns often reflected a highly sensitive risk-based approach towards any action that could expose their organisation to the possibility of “reverse discrimination”.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherSageen
dc.relation.urlhttp://jdi.sagepub.com/en
dc.subjectpositive actionen
dc.subjectEquality Act 2010en
dc.subjectequalityen
dc.subjectpublic sector equality dutyen
dc.titleBridging the gap: an exploration of the use and impact of positive action in the UKen
dc.typeArticleen
dc.identifier.eissn2047-9468en
dc.contributor.departmentUniversity of Chesteren
dc.identifier.journalInternational Journal of Discrimination and the Lawen
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