Equal Opportunities Legislation Awareness, Implementation and Perception of Relevance: A Case Study of an Edinburgh based Law firm
(2014) Equal Opportunities Legislation Awareness, Implementation and Perception of Relevance: A Case Study of an Edinburgh based Law firm, no. 77.
Purpose: The aim of this research project is to determine the degree of knowledge held by an Edinburgh based Law firm on the awareness, implementation and importance of equal opportunities. Aim/Objectives: The existing literature surrounding equal opportunities and the adoption of a diverse workforce provides little in the way of awareness, implementation into practice and importance. On this basis the objectives for this research project involve: • Analysing existing literature based on gender inequality issues, the benefits and drawbacks of adopting a diverse workforce. Furthermore examining the theory and political approach. • Undertaking a case study based on an Edinburgh based Law firm. • Discuss the degree of importance of understanding the Equality Act 2010, the relevance within a business case and the implementation of the Act. Design: The research was conducted following a qualitative approach, as the research is concerned with the participants' opinions on 'why', 'what' and 'how'. A sample of 6 participants was selected, varying in age, gender, hierarchy position and responsibility levels. Method: A case study approach was adopted allowing for a detailed analysis of the organisation and the relationships existing with the literature. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with each following the same set of questions. This form of interview allowed for additional scope of research allowing further probing if required. Findings/conclusion: The research concludes that, although the participants were aware of the existence of the Equality Act 2010, few had in-depth knowledge of which individuals are protected. In addition, all respondents regard equality to be important. During the data collection process few mentioned positive discrimination. Participants believed that employment should be based on merit and suitability for the job; the use of positive discrimination is immoral. All respondents understand the company promotes a diverse workforce; opinions are split as to whether this is of benefit and whether it should be increased; therefore contradicting the literature. Moreover there appears to be little in the way of implementing equality within the company, for that reason the researcher recommends further equality training be provided by an external source. In addition to gaining an 'Investors in People' accreditation which will boost company and staff credibility. Research limitations: The data collection method required the researcher's interpretation of the data which may be regarded as subjective. Likewise the sample size may be considered as small and therefore may affect the generalisability of the findings.