SDG10 – Minimising Inequalities in the Workplace

Inequalities in the workplace can have negative impacts on both individuals and organisations. These inequalities can take many forms, including gender, race, age, and disability. In this topic, we will explore the different types of inequalities that can exist in the workplace and how they can be minimised. By understanding and addressing inequalities, organisations can create a more inclusive and fair environment that benefits everyone.

Image of an inequality sign being cut to just show equality

Inequalities in a work environment

It is important to identify inequalities in the workplace because they can have negative impacts on both individuals and the organisation as a whole. Inequalities can lead to discrimination and unfair treatment, resulting in a lack of trust, low morale, and reduced employee productivity. Additionally, inequalities can result in the exclusion of certain groups from opportunities for career advancement, leading to a lack of diversity and representation in the organisation. By identifying and addressing inequalities, organisations can create a more inclusive and equitable work environment, leading to better outcomes for all employees and the organisation.


icon showing male and female signsInequalities based upon gender in a working environment refer to any unequal treatment or discrimination based on a person’s gender. This can include unequal pay for the same work, lack of promotion or advancement opportunities, or unequal access to resources and support. It is important to identify and address these workplace inequalities because they can significantly impact individuals and create a culture of discrimination and unfairness within the organisation.


icon showing people of different agesInequalities based on age in a working environment refer to the unfair treatment or discrimination of individuals based on their age. This can include unequal pay or job opportunities for individuals of different ages or the creation of policies or practices that disproportionately affect certain age groups. Identifying inequalities based on age in the workplace is important because it can create barriers to employment and career advancement for individuals and contribute to a workplace culture of discrimination and exclusion.


icon of a person being pushed in a wheelchairIn a working environment, inequalities based upon disabilities refer to the unequal treatment or opportunities that individuals with disabilities may face in the workplace. This can include discrimination or lack of access to resources, opportunities, or accommodations necessary to participate and thrive in the workplace fully. Organisations must recognise and address these inequalities to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace for all employees.

Sexual orientation

Inequalities based upon sexual orientation in a working environment refer to any discrimination or prejudice an individual may face in the workplace due to their sexual orientation. This can include being treated unfairly regarding hiring, promotion, pay, or other work opportunities and benefits or being subjected to derogatory comments or behaviour based on one’s sexual orientation. It is important for organisations to actively work to address and eliminate any forms of inequality based on sexual orientation to create a more inclusive and fair workplace for all employees.


Inequalities based upon race refer to discrimination or prejudice against individuals or groups of people based on their race or ethnicity. This can manifest in various ways in the workplace, including unequal pay, lack of promotion opportunities, or unfair treatment regarding benefits and resources. Identifying and addressing inequalities based on race in the workplace is important to create a more equitable and inclusive environment for all employees.


Inequalities based upon ethnicity in a working environment refer to the unfair treatment or unequal opportunities that may be experienced by employees based on their ethnicity. This can include discrimination in hiring, promotion, and other employment opportunities and unequal pay or benefits. Ethnicity-based inequalities can also include racial profiling or microaggressions that may affect an individual’s experience in the workplace. Identifying and addressing these inequalities is important to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.


In a working environment, inequalities based on religion may refer to instances where individuals of certain religious beliefs or practices are unfairly treated or discriminated against in the workplace. This may include being passed over for promotions or opportunities, being unfairly targeted for criticism or discipline, or being excluded from certain activities or decisions because of their religion. Such inequalities can significantly negatively impact the well-being and productivity of affected individuals, as well as the overall culture and success of the organisation.

Negative impacts

Providing an unfair wage structure can lead to morale and productivity issues within an organisation, as employees may feel undervalued or mistreated. Unfairly treating different staff types, such as discriminating against certain groups based on their protected characteristics, can lead to conflict and a toxic work environment. Poor worker support systems, such as a lack of accommodations for disabled employees or resources for employee development, can also negatively impact the organisation. These issues can lead to high turnover rates, difficulty attracting and retaining top talent and potential legal issues.

Protected characteristics

In the UK, the nine protected characteristics in equal opportunities law. These characteristics are protected from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. It is unlawful to discriminate against someone because of these characteristics in the workplace or the provision of goods, facilities, and services.

The nine protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 in the UK are:

  1. Age: This characteristic protects individuals from discrimination based on their age.
  2. Disability: This characteristic protects individuals with physical or mental impairments that have a substantial and long-term negative effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
  3. Gender reassignment: This characteristic protects individuals who are proposing to undergo, is undergoing, or have undergone a process (or part of a process) to reassign their sex by changing physiological or other characteristics of sex.
  4. Marriage and civil partnership: This characteristic protects individuals from discrimination based on their marital status or whether they are in a civil partnership.
  5. Pregnancy and maternity: This characteristic protects pregnant women who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.
  6. Race: This characteristic protects individuals from discrimination based on race, colour, nationality, or ethnic or national origin.
  7. Religion or belief: This characteristic protects individuals from discrimination based on their religion or philosophical belief.
  8. Sex: This characteristic protects individuals from discrimination based on their gender.
  9. Sexual orientation: This characteristic protects individuals from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, whether heterosexual, gay, lesbian, or bisexual.
Case Study: Minimising Inequalities

Roth Assurance is a large insurance company based in Rotherham, UK, with 120 staff from different backgrounds. The company recognised the importance of creating a work environment that minimises inequalities and promotes diversity and inclusion. In order to achieve this goal, Roth Assurance conducted a thorough audit of their workplace practices and procedures to identify any potential areas of inequality. This helped the company to better understand the experiences of their employees and identify areas for improvement.

Roth Assurance established a Diversity and Inclusion Committee made up of representatives from different departments and backgrounds to lead the company’s efforts in this area. The committee was responsible for developing and implementing new policies and procedures that promote equality and inclusivity in the workplace.

Roth Assurance recognised that unconscious bias can significantly impact creating an inclusive workplace. As a result, they implemented unconscious bias training for all employees to help them better understand and overcome their biases.

Roth Assurance offered flexible working arrangements, such as part-time and flexible hours, to help employees balance their work and personal responsibilities. This helps ensure that all employees have equal opportunities to succeed, regardless of their circumstances.

Roth Assurance celebrated diversity by recognising and promoting their employees’ diverse backgrounds, skills, and experiences. This helps to create a more inclusive and supportive workplace culture.

The results of these efforts were positive for Roth Assurance. By minimising inequalities in the workplace, the company was able to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment that promoted collaboration, creativity, and success for all employees. This, in turn, led to higher levels of employee engagement, productivity, and job satisfaction. Overall, Roth Assurance’s efforts to minimise inequalities in the workplace demonstrate their commitment to creating a positive and equitable workplace for all employees.

Minimising Inequalities

Positive Actions

To achieve the target of SDG 10, which is to reduce inequalities, businesses can apply sustainable human behaviour in several ways. Here are some strategies that businesses can adopt:

  1. Pay and benefit equity: By ensuring that all employees receive fair pay, regardless of gender, race, or other factors, businesses can help to reduce income inequality in the workplace. This can be achieved by regularly reviewing and updating compensation policies and implementing transparent pay scales.
  2. Diversity and inclusion: By promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, businesses can help to create an equal environment for all employees. This can involve training and education programmes on diversity and inclusion and encouraging open and respectful communication among employees.
  3. Employee empowerment: Allowing employees to have a voice in the workplace and to make decisions that impact their work can help to reduce inequalities. By giving employees the opportunity to contribute to the business, they can feel more valued and engaged, which can lead to higher job satisfaction and motivation.
  4. Community engagement: By engaging with local communities and supporting initiatives that help to reduce inequalities, businesses can help to create a more inclusive society. This can involve supporting community-based initiatives, volunteering, or participating in local events.
  5. Responsible sourcing: By ensuring that the products and services that businesses use are sourced responsibly, businesses can help to reduce inequalities within supply chains. This can involve conducting supplier assessments, monitoring working conditions, and ensuring fair and sustainable wages are paid.

By adopting these strategies, businesses can play an important role in reducing inequalities and promoting sustainable human behaviour in the workplace.

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