More than 10 years have passed since the Organic Law of Equal Opportunities was published in Spain and it is more than 10 years that we have been waiting for Equal Opportunities professionals, for the Regulation that allows the development of a Law to appear that has marked a before and after in the fight against discrimination in this country. It was in 2007 when the incorporation into domestic law of community directives became a reality. The then President of the Government of Spain, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, promoted the approval of a Law that for the first time in the history of the country, did justice to the defense of the rights of more than 50% of the Spanish population, going to the light of the Organic Law 3/2007. Yet it was just that. A normative publication. This Law obliged companies with more than 250 workers to develop an Equality Plan, which gave the impression that only this type of company was directly affected by the Law. Currently, the reform of this regulation through the RDL 6/2019, extends to companies with more than 50 people on staff to develop the Plan. However, and as is usual in this country, the damage had already been done. The vast majority of organizations, both public and private, have become the great ignorant of this Law. By marking in its first version a minimum number of personnel on staff to carry out the Equality Plan, the false belief of the “That does not touch me. I don’t have that many people on staff, so I don’t have to do anything about it. ” Nothing is further from reality. Let’s see why …
TITLE IV of Law 3/2007 on Equality, “The right to work with equal opportunities”, in its CHAPTER III “Company equality plans and other measures to promote equality” and more specifically article 45 ” Preparation and application of equality plans ”. I quote verbatim:
“one. Companies are obliged to respect equal treatment and opportunities in the workplace and, for this purpose, they must adopt measures aimed at avoiding any type of employment discrimination between women and men, measures that must be negotiated and, where appropriate, agreed upon, with the legal representatives of the workers in the manner determined in the labor legislation ”.
It could not be more clear and direct. In the first place, it refers to “The Companies”. And it does not establish any type of differentiation in terms of its size or number of workers or staff. There is no tagline that can make us think that our company is not affected by this Law and that they are obliged to respect Equality in the workplace.
If we continue reading, an active obligation is also established. Companies… must adopt measures aimed at avoiding any type of employment discrimination between women and men. That is why the analysis of this article shows that companies, regardless of size, have 1 or 100,000 people on staff, must adapt to this standard by adopting measures, taking actions and establishing cross-cutting criteria that are aimed at avoiding any type of discrimination.
Why, then, is mention made in article 45.2 that in the case of “companies with fifty or more workers, the equality measures referred to in the previous section must be directed to the preparation and application of an equality plan ”. The answer is simple. The Equality Plan is a technical mechanism that should help companies to comply with this Law. It is an analysis and planning tool, which will allow, among other things, a correct implementation of the measures stipulated by law.
Another article of the Equality Law that directly affects all companies is article 48, which establishes specific measures to prevent sexual harassment and harassment based on sex at work. “one. Companies must promote working conditions that prevent sexual harassment and harassment on the grounds of sex and arbitrate specific procedures for their prevention and to channel complaints or claims that may be made by those who have been the object of it. “
Maximum clarity, also, in the description of this obligation. And let me remind you that this is a subject of the utmost importance and to which it has not been given the emphasis or the notoriety that it should have. All companies must have a protocol of sexual and / or sexual harassment incorporated into their management system. It is a basic and fundamental document to combat and prevent the scourge that sexual harassment causes in organizations. And it is also surprising that there is no study to determine how many companies have complied with this obligation. My personal experience is that only one company in every 1000 has this procedure. And 80% of the companies that do have it have it poorly implemented or with such obvious basic errors as incorporating issues of workplace harassment or mobbing in said document. But this is another matter that we will develop in future articles.
More explicit are the new regulations that we have in the making. Both the Equality Plans Regulations and the Equal Remuneration Regulations make specific reference to the fact that they will be mandatory for all companies. Article 28 of the Workers’ Statute also mentions this aspect, which includes the obligation to register wages in order to verify that there is equal remuneration between men and women within the company.
In summary. All companies must comply with the Equality Law, developing a Plan or adapting actions and measures that combat employment discrimination between women and men. Failure to do so can lead us to court, and even criminal proceedings in the case of sexual harassment issues.
The importance of certification
Legislative and regulatory compliance make business management a list of opportunities that will allow us to advance in the flow of continuous improvement. Not only in equality, but also in preventive matters, quality, environment … That is why five large national entities -Acció Preventiva, Europreven, Fahrenheit Consultors, Igualia, ICDQ- have come together to create a new project that achieves that the companies achieve business excellence through the integration of prevention and the establishment of a real culture in their organizations. And they have done so through the passport Certification of excellence in management and people, which is an exclusive methodology that allows companies to progress gradually in their business management systems until they achieve business and preventive excellence.
There is much work ahead … but tools like this will allow us to systematize and demonstrate our ability to move forward in a much more dynamic and orderly business and social world.
Guillem Pedragosa Acosta
Equality Equality Agent
Expert Expert in Harassment Conflicts