Actions to raise awareness of human rights issues in relation to business in Scotland have been proposed by the Scottish Human Rights Commission in work to support the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
With the Scottish Government and other partners in Scotland's National Action Plan for Human Rights (SNAP), the Commission has opened a short survey looking for views on business and human rights in Scotland.
The survey invites respondents for views on the issues raised in a National Baseline Assessment on Business and Human Rights, commissioned and published through SNAP.
Under the headings of state duty, corporate responsibility, and access to remedy, the Assessment notes that certain groups such as women, the disabled and ethnic minorities continue to face barriers to employment. Concerns have also been raised that the Scottish Government continued to award contracts to companies that have been implicated in blacklisting employees.
While businesses consulted were able to indentify a range of business and workplace issues as having a human rights dimension, they were less likely to view such issues as relevant to their own business, and further awareness-raising efforts are proposed.
Under the "Access to remedy" heading, the paper supports the ending of employment tribunal fees, and a clearer system of protective expenses orders in Scotland. It also calls for a web page dedicated to business and human rights aimed at Scottish businesses, including tailored guidance for SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises).
Both the European Union and the United Nations have called for the development of national action plans (NAPs) to support the implementation of the UN Principles. Since 2011 a number of governments have developed NAPs.
Click here to access the Assessment paper and the survey, which is open until 10 December 2016.