The global events of this year including the Black Lives Matter movement, the apparent disproportionate impact on the BAME population of COVID-19 and news that the ethnicity pay gap remains significant, have again brought the issue of lack of racial equality to the fore.
As revealed in a recent report from the Law Society, “Race for inclusion: the experiences of Black, Asian & Minority Ethnic solicitors”, the legal profession is not exempt from the issue of lack of racial equality. It found, disappointingly but unsurprisingly, that more needs to be done to improve race inclusion in the legal profession and now is an important time for change.
I am very pleased to announce the Employment Lawyers Association’s (ELA) new Race Equality Committee (REC) of which I am one of the founding members and co-chair.
The REC aims to bring about positive and meaningful change within the ELA and the wider employment law profession including by:
- supporting the ELA’s diversity and inclusion initiatives;
- improving access to careers in employment law for people from ethnic minority backgrounds;
- creating a network of ethnic minority employment lawyers and allies who can share insight, experiences and provide mutual support to those already within the profession;
- providing support for career development and progression for members;
- ensuring that the REC is inclusive in terms of ethnicity, geographical location and levels of qualification of members;
- helping members to enable allies to support our aims through allyship or otherwise;
- contributing to the ELA’s responses to government consultations and legislative proposals on race-related issues;
- working with other committees of the ELA to hold training, events and webinars in relation to race equality and discrimination;
- where appropriate, seeking to engage with relevant stakeholders in government and elsewhere on race-related issues to facilitate meaningful change;
- improving the ELA’s engagement with members on race-related matters generally and more specifically, encouraging members to discuss race, further support awareness of racial inequality and seeking to implement the results of those discussions.
The REC’s work so far has included:
- Being part of the ELA’s working party in responding to a call for evidence and good practice on in-work progression issued by the Department for Work & Pensions, including why ethnic minority workers are identified as most at risk of staying in low pay.
- Contributing to the ELA’s working party set up to respond to the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities’ call for evidence for ethnic disparities and inequality in the UK, in particular in the area of employment. The ELA’s response can be found here.
- Being part of the ELA’s working party in responding to a call for evidence in respect of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Diversity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) inquiry into Equity in the UK STEM workforce.
The ELA has proved to be an effective force in promoting the best practice of employment law and supporting the work and interests of UK employment lawyers, including in providing vital insights on government consultations. The REC looks forward to putting in place initiatives to help meets its aims (as above) and ensuring that ethnic minorities are well-represented in all of the ELA’s activities.
If you would like any further information or advice about the matters explored in this blog, please contact Bina or another member of our employment team.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bina is an employment law specialist with considerable experience in dealing with all aspects of the employment relationship. She acts for both employers and senior executives across various sectors with particular expertise in the legal, financial and other professional services and higher education sectors as well as with luxury brands. Bina is a tough negotiator and a formidable litigator and regularly deals with claims in the Employment Tribunal helping to achieve the best results for her clients. She has a particular interest in equality and discrimination matters.