On Wednesday 14th March, our IP Out group are holding an event on "The Gender Spectrum: what should firms be doing and why?". The event aims to further the understanding within the whole of the IP community of Trans* persons’ professional experiences. This will be a round-table discussion touching on, among other things, how best to create an inclusive environment where Trans* persons feel comfortable being their true selves at work, and managing client relations as well as other professionals during transitional periods.
As always, this event is open to everyone working in the IP professions. Straight allies are welcomed, and indeed encouraged, to attend. We hope that the event will be very useful for firms looking to implement or update their equality, diversity and inclusion policies, as well as prompting firms to take a more proactive approach in this area. We would particularly like to see organisations' Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Officer or Representatives at the event. (Every firm that has signed the IP Inclusive Charter has nominated someone within the firm as their EDI Officer.)
We are pleased to have Rachel Reese from Global Butterflies and Luke Williams from BPP University Law School joining as lead contributors to the discussion. Rachel and Luke bring personal insight and a depth of experience helping law firms become more inclusive. Please bring your own questions and thoughts, or just come along to listen and learn.
The event is kindly being hosted by Bird & Bird LLP in their London office (12 New Fetter Lane, London, EC4A 1JP). Bird & Bird are one of the IP Inclusive Charter signatories. The event starts at 17:30, with the discussion to begin at 18:15, and drinks and networking to follow. Further information about the event can be found on the registration page here.
We look forward to seeing you on 14th March!
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Phillipa Holland, Principal Consultant at Fellows and Associates, and is about whether disclosing salary information during recruitment impacts diversity. Fellows and Associates is one of our Charter signatories.
Phillipa writes: "Would it help equality in the workplace if previous salary information was not discussed during the recruitment process?
The traditional and most common way of determining salary for an individual applying for a role in the UK is to have a budget, then find out what an applicant is earning, then ideally pay them a bit more (or at least the same) as what their income was previously. But is this fair? Is this sensible?
Well it can be a delicate subject for some. Discussing the details of your salary with a somewhat stranger on the understanding it will help secure your position and determine what you will earn in the future can be difficult. In some cases, being open about what you earn can aid negotiation (if, for example you earn more than the suggested budget it provides useful evidence of your market worth beyond the future employer’s current understanding of market conditions). But should this be so? Does it actually benefit the candidate, or the employer, in the long run?
There is a body of opinion that revealing candidate salary history has helped reinforce the gender pay gap. If the strategy is to set a budget and then within that budget pay candidates more than their current salary, then the strategy perpetuates the gender pay gap as men are, research indicates, typically paid more than women. (Thus, the same percentage increase on salary would mean that a woman would continue to be paid less for the same role). Statistically speaking, women tend to negotiate less and, when they do, it can be viewed negatively by employers. If organisations are not given access to salary information then the issues surrounding negotiation are significantly reduced, helping positively reinforce a woman’s earning power. There is a potential positive impact with respect to ethnic minorities as well; whilst the research in terms of pay disparity is more complicated (it’s a question of both availability of equitable opportunities as well as equal pay for equal roles), disregarding salary history may help prevent salary or hiring decisions being impacted by conscious or unconscious bias.
The IP Inclusive taskforce held its fourth annual round-table meeting on 23rd January. Following updates from the four working groups on their 2017 achievements, we set our objectives for 2018.
Key initiatives for 2018
1) Establish IP Inclusive "champions"
2) Establish an annual “IP Inclusive Week”
3) Reach out to regional supporters
4) Reach out to a wider audience of “IP professionals”
A full list of our 2018 objectives, including the specific objectives of our four workstreams, can be found in the document below. We also provide minutes of our 2018 AGM, and our new IP Inclusive poster, which we encourage you all to display in your offices so that all of your colleagues and coworkers can learn more about IP Inclusive.
On 1st February, IP Inclusive ran a well-attended workshop on how to manage inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The event, like all IP Inclusive events, was open to everyone working in the IP professions - the participants included recent entrants to the professions, attorneys, solicitors, partners in law firms, members of the UK IPO, and HR representatives.
A summary of the event has been published by Rose Hughes, Patent Assistant at Reddie & Grose LLP, on the IPKat website.
During the event, participants were asked to work in groups to identify examples of appropriate and inappropriate workplace behaviours. The photos below show some of the results of the task:
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Ryan Compton, Director of Centre for Resolution, and is about the best practices to follow when employing someone with a disability.
Ryan writes: "Hello, my name is Ryan Compton, Director of Centre for Resolution. We provide equality, diversity and inclusion services through the utilisation of training, coaching and mediation.
Disability can be a difficult topic to speak about especially when it comes to employment. Employers are often thinking what are the best practices when employing someone with a disability so in this four part series we are going to be speaking about the process of employing someone with a disability in three key areas, which are recruitment, employment and retention.
We will kick start the series with an introduction to disability and employment.
What is a disability?
There are many types of disability. Too many to name, but there are several umbrella terms to disability, which are sensory, physical, mental and learning.
Here are some examples:
Sensory – Vision and Hearing Impairment
Physical - Cerebral Palsy, Diabetes
Mental – Depression, Anxiety
Learning – Dyslexia, Dyscalculia
Just to make it even more complicated there are variants within this as some people like myself have more than one disability from multiple categories. To make it even more complicated than that, long-term health conditions are also considered as a disability.
Not all disabilities are visible; there are also many invisible disabilities for example depression or HIV.
At the end of January, IP Out held it's first social event of 2018. Darren Smyth, IP Inclusive taskforce member, IP Out Committee member, and Partner at EIP, writes about the event and encourages everyone to attend IP Out events in the future. EIP are one of our Charter signatories.
(This article first appeared on Darren's own blog: The IP Alchemist and is reproduced here with Darren's permission).
Darren writes: "I really did not think I would be writing an event report of an event that had no speakers, but actually quite a lot happened at the IP Out drinks on 30th January, and so I wanted to record a few thoughts.
It’s been less than 18 months since our first event, and we are already on our fifth. Feedback from attendees from questionnaires at our previous events continued to show support for the idea of a “social only” event, without any speakers or particular topic. So this time, for the first time, we held an event in a bar, rather than in the offices of a law firm, where all our previous events have taken place. We went for the New Bloomsbury Set, who gave us our own area and treated us very well. Since the organisation required for social drinks is much lower than for a speaker event, I am wondering whether we could make this a regular event on a fixed timetable. If we had it say every month, for example, would people want to come at that frequency?
Numbers were lower than at the more formal meetings, but we still had a decent turnout, and my impression is that a drinks event is not overall less popular, but rather that fewer people who identify as allies come if there is not a specific topic under discussion. That’s not a problem at all, but I do want to reiterate that allies are welcome at all IP Out events. I did worry that people would be deterred from attending an event where they had to buy drinks for themselves and each other rather than refreshments being kindly supplied by our host firm (and our host firms have always been very generous), but from what I saw that did not cause a problem at all.
Gratifyingly, from my rough count, about a quarter of people attending were at an IP Out event for the first time, so we are still succeeding in reaching out to new people, while remaining well-supported by our excellent committee and regular participants. I was also delighted to see that we continue to attract a wide cross-section of people from across the intellectual property law and related professions, which, as I discovered at the IP Inclusive AGM, is an aspect in which the IP Out group is really excelling. But it seems that we cannot say too often, so I am saying it again – IP Out is not only for patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, solicitors, barristers, notaries, legal executives, members of the judiciary, trainees for those roles, and members of the judiciary. IP Out is for anyone working in IP, regardless of your role, which, in a non-exclusive list, could include secretarial, formalities, records, paralegal, searcher, journalist, translator, patent illustrator, conference organiser, HR, IT, accounts, marketing, or office services. If you are in a patent and trade mark attorney firm, an IP law firm, the IP department of an IP law firm, an in-house IP department, legal publisher, search firm, translation firm, patent illustration firm, barristers’ chambers, or similar or related organisation that I can’t think of at the moment, we would love to have you join us for any event that you wanted to attend. They are all listed on our webpage here.
Thank you again to everyone who attended our first event of 2018 and contributing to such a splendid evening."
Today's blog article has kindly been provided by Chris Burnett, IP Inclusive taskforce member and Associate at A. A. Thornton & Co., and is about how his firm approached the IP Inclusive Charter in order to put together their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy. A. A. Thornton & Co. are one of our Charter signatories.
Chris writes: "I was involved with IP Inclusive fairly early on, and was keen that my firm should be among the first to sign the new Charter. I was confident that the partners would agree to sign the Charter, and was pleased that they readily agreed without me having to mount my soapbox (there’s a slight, slight, element of regret about this!). However, agreeing in principle to the commitments of the Charter was one thing; acting on them and bringing them to fruition is another thing entirely.
Fortunately, I could count on our Head of People, Karen Genuardi, to help. Karen had previous experience of implementing diversity and inclusion policies. We sat down and discussed how A. A. Thornton could make each commitment of the Charter happen, and more importantly, work for the firm:
1. The first commitment was easy: “Having in place a named individual within our organisation as Equality, Diversity and Inclusion officer. This person will be sufficiently senior to make change happen and to be accountable for our progress”. Karen gamely volunteered for this role, given her experience, and is part of the senior management team. The second part of the commitment is definitely important – it would be very easy to delegate the role to anyone with enthusiasm, but a partner, CEO or head of HR is much more likely to have the clout to ensure there is firm-wide buy-in.