Useful Terms - diversity in the workplace


is the state or quality of being essentially equal: of being allowed to have equal access and opportunity in society.

Equitable in use

allowing for a wide range of people with diverse abilities

Flexibility in use

and working arrangements leading to improved work/life balance.

Gender reassignment

Gender reassignment, is defined under the Equality Act 2010 as where "the person is proposing to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone a process (or part of a process) for the purpose of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other characteristics of sex." Some transsexual and intersex people choose to undergo reassignment surgery to better align their physical sexual characteristics with their emotional and psychological identity.


Harassment, as well as bullying, is any type of unwanted behaviour that makes someone else feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended. Such behaviour is not always obvious or apparent to others, it can be insidious, and can therefore take place in the workplace without an employer being aware.

Such behaviour can involve groups of people or two individuals. There is legislation protecting against harassment on the grounds of age, sex, race, disability, religionor belief, gender reassignment or sexual orientation. This protection covers isolated incidents and persistent behaviour, whether face-to-face, in written communications, by phone or email. Employees can now complain about behaviour they find offensive even if it is not directed towards them. Employers are now potentially liable for harassment of their staff by people they do not employ.

Not everyone feels confident or able to complain, especially if the unwanted behaviour comes from someone more senior in the workplace. Sometimes the easiest option may appear to be to resign. It is therefore important that your organisation ensures everyone is aware of how to deal with potential bullying or harassment, and that any such issue remains confidential. Some organisations incorporate the concept of “Dignity at Work” rather than using the terms “bullying” and “harassment”.

Develop and implement a formal policy; ensure senior managers lead through good example; deal promptly, fairly and in confidence with all complaints; ensure all employees understand and are aware of the formal policy; and that such unwanted behaviour will not be tolerated.

Bullying and Harassment at work: a guide for managers and employers (external website)


is the state where social and environmental barriers to equality of access and opportunity, of contribution to and participation in, society are removed. To achieve inclusion each individual has to take responsibility to remove these barriers.

Individual responsibility

not to discriminate, bully, harass or victimise, but to treat others fairly and equally.

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