Code of Practice for Employers

Last week, we posted about an Employment case which found that Immigration status did not come under the protected head of Nationality when it came to discrimination claims, either directly or indirectly in terms of the Equality Act 2010.  ONU & AKWIWU and TAIWO & OLAIGBE [2014] EWCA Civ 279. We find ourselves back at the issue of discrimination from an Immigration perspective in the line of employment. Today the Home Office published a code of conduct for employers which is a very useful document to consider for those employing overseas nationals and who do not wish to fall foul of  Home Office for failing to carry out right to work checks or becoming liable in terms of employment law in discrimination claims.

Issued under section 23(1) of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, the code of practice entitled Avoiding unlawful discrimination while preventing illegal working , sets out an employer’s legal obligations under the Equality Act 2010. It is a statutory Code and whilst not imposing any legal duties on employers nor purporting to be an  authoritative statement of the law it can be referred to in any proceedings which may become relevant.

It provides a brief yet useful summary of the issue of race discrimination highlighting to the non legal personnel, the criteria in respect of direct and indirect discrimination that can be considered. Equally it reminds employers that actions of employees in the course of their employment, is treated as having been committed by the employer, as well as by the individual employee, whether or not the employer knew or approved the acts of discrimination.

Clearly with rights to work checks being required when employing non British Nationals, careful and precise training methods should be implemented with viable procedures in place to ensure compliance both in terms of S15 of the Nationality & Immigration Act and also the Equality Act 2010.