ACAS updates guidance on answering employee queries about discrimination at work

Employers will welcome updated guidance from ACAS on what to do if an employee (or their union representative if they have one) complains about alleged discrimination at work and sends written questions to the employer

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The guidance ‘Answering questions about a discrimination complaint’ recommends that, while the employer is not legally bound to answer the questions, the complaint should be taken seriously, and the employer should follow the steps in the updated guidance to try and resolve it. This includes investigating the complaint and replying as soon as possible.

The background is that there used to be a statutory right to ask questions in certain circumstances. When this was abolished in 2014, ACAS brought in non-statutory guidance having similar effect instead. There is also ACAS guidance for employees ‘Asking your employer questions about discrimination’. This says that they should ask such questions by including them in a written statement that they send or email to the employer, saying they believe they have been discriminated against at work, setting out what happened and asking the employer questions.

Employers can view the updated guidance (and the associated employee guidance) on the ACAS website.