Taking Positive Action

Many people are unaware or confused by what positive action means and how it differs from positive discrimination. The difference is crucial. Positive action is a legal measure under the Equality Act (2010) whereas positive discrimination is not.

Positive action is a means to address inequality in the workplace if, for example, there is a significant and evidenced under-representation of a particular group based on protected characteristics (gender, race, disability, for example).

These measures can include:

  • Internal networks
  • Advertising of jobs in a manner to attract more diverse applicants
  • Outreach programmes or events

All of the above can be targeted solely at the under-represented group.

Positive action is a measure to attract candidates to roles in an organisation, however, it cannot be used to recruit candidates of a specific background to job roles you would otherwise be opening to standard recruitment.

At Equate Scotland, we use positive action measures to support employers to overcome the significant and clearly evidenced under-representation of women across STEM. These measures are also used by employers, universities and colleges to engage other under-represented groups, for example:

To find out more please see the Equality and Human Rights Commission overview, this UK Government guide and this Advance HE overview

It is important employers take appropriate measures and evidence the needs for these measures internally to help people understand why such action is being taken. To support this, we work with Morton Fraser’s legal team to provide advice for employers. Find out more.