People Management: Three minutes with - Joanna Wootten Workforce project manager, NCVO

What's your new funding?

NCVO has received a £50,000 grant from the Department of Trade & Industry to promote the Employment Regulations, which came into force in December 2003.

What do the regulations cover?

They make it unlawful to discriminate against workers on the grounds of their sexual orientation or religion or belief. There are two types of discrimination: direct and indirect. Even if you make a mistake - for example, you don't appoint someone because you think they are Christian and straight, but, in fact, they are Muslim or gay - you will still be found guilty of discrimination.

Are the regulations relevant for a sector that's renowned for promoting equality?

It would be nice to think that the voluntary sector was an exemplary employer and that there was no need for the regulations. However, I know of a number of examples of discrimination in relation to sexual orientation, religion and belief.

Who needs to comply?

All organisations that employ people have to comply.

What will Workforce Project involve?

It will collaborate with Black Training and Enterprise Group on a four-month project to promote the legislation to organisations within the sector. It will produce a fact sheet and publication written by a former employee of Lesbian and Gay Employment Rights and a Commission for Racial Equality commissioner, which will explain the law and help ensure your employees aren't being discriminated against.

How can organisations get hold of this information?

There is a summary of the implications on www.askncvo.org.uk. The fact sheet and publication will be launched at Thackray Museum, Leeds, and Sadler's Wells, London, on 14-15 March. Voluntary organisations will be able to order a copy for a small charge. To attend the launch, contact Pamela Leuhusen on 020 7520 2521.

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