Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy

Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy

Definitions

This policy outlines the organisation’s approach to equality and diversity at work. It is important to understand the difference between the concepts of equality and diversity.

Equality (or equal opportunities) is about protecting certain groups of staff against unfair treatment based on a particular personal characteristic. This protection is normally based on those groups covered by legislation i.e. gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, age, transgender, civil partnership or marital status, pregnancy and maternity and religion or belief. We will not tolerate unfair treatment on any grounds.

Diversity is about recognising, valuing and using the differences which people have.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to encourage an atmosphere in which all staff embrace the benefits of working in a diverse workforce and to promote fair and equal treatment for all employees, job applicants, customers, suppliers and visitors, irrespective of their individual differences or any personal characteristics.

Scope

This policy relates to all aspects of employment, including individual standards of behaviour, the advertisement of jobs, recruitment and selection, training and development, appraisal, pay, promotion and leaving the company. The principles apply equally to all dealings with customers, suppliers and visitors.

Statement of policy

The company is committed to the principles of valuing diversity. We recognise the benefits that can be secured through employing a diverse workforce and harnessing the individual talents of staff from different backgrounds and with different skills. These include:

  • Tangible business benefits such as improved staff morale, absence levels, customer satisfaction and profits
  • An improved company image leading to a wider customer base and a wider pool of people to recruit from
  • The avoidance of costly legal proceedings caused by breaches of equality legislation

We are committed to providing fair and equal treatment for all staff, customers, suppliers and visitors and all staff are expected to treat everyone with whom they come into contact with dignity and respect. Staff should be aware of the importance the company attaches to this policy and that breaches will be classed as disciplinary offenses and dealt with accordingly.

Legal obligations

The Equality Act 2010 protects individuals against direct discrimination, indirect discrimination, harassment (including bullying) and victimisation because of their gender, race, gender reassignment, marital status, civil partnership, disability, sexual orientation and religion or belief or age. We will not tolerate any form of prejudice, discrimination, victimisation or harassment against any employee or service user/customer.

In pursing this policy we believe that the principles which underpin the above legislation should be extended to all staff regardless of any personal characteristic.

Responsibilities

All staff are expected to have read and understood this policy, ensure they behave in accordance with its principles, encourage the same level of behaviour in colleagues and immediately report any breaches witnessed.

All Managers are responsible for ensuring this policy is understood and complied with by staff in their area, dealing with breaches and complaints (whether reported or not) seriously, speedily, sensitively and confidentially and contributing ideas for the advancement of diversity principles within the organisation.

The Human Resource Officer is responsible for implementing, reviewing, monitoring the effectiveness of and providing advice on this policy, encouraging the adoption of its principles throughout the organisation and ensuring complaints are adequately investigated.

The Chief Executive Officer has overall responsibility for this policy.

Breaches of this policy may be treated as a disciplinary issue. Additionally, if legal requirements are contravened, both the company and the employee concerned may be liable to legal proceedings and risk having unlimited damages awarded against them.

Alternatively, some form of training or education may be more appropriate where minor breaches have occurred due to lack of understanding of equality and diversity principles.

 

Communicating this policy

In order to ensure the principles of this policy are embedded in everything we do, all existing staff will receive a copy of this policy and training regarding how it all should be interpreted. This policy will also be covered in all future inductions. Furthermore, contractors, sub-contractors and visitors will comply with this policy and customers/service users will be made aware of it.

Janet Reveley has overall responsibility for the implementation of this policy. Each Head of area (Robert Reveley, Hayley Morran) are accountable for delivering the equality commitments in their areas of responsibility and all employees are expected to abide by the policy.

To implement this policy we will:

  • Include appropriate equality objectives and responsibilities in each job description
  • Provide our employees with the necessary knowledge and skills to help ensure that the workplace is free from discrimination and harassment
  • Train all those who are involved in recruitment and selection, whether for vacant posts, promotions or training opportunities
  • Regularly review our employment policies and procedures to ensure they do not unlawfully or unfairly discriminate
  • Gather equality information on our workforce and job applicants
  • Make all necessary reasonable adjustments and consider options for flexible working
  • Work to make our workforce more representative through monitoring and where possible, undertake lawful positive action
  • Ensure promotional material is inclusive and represents the protected characteristics. Where possible we will use existing employees as role models
  • Seek commitments from our suppliers that they are taking steps to promote equality and eliminate discrimination
  • Make sure that there are sufficient resources in place to implement this policy effectively

 

General standards of behaviour

The company expects staff to conduct themselves in a professional and considerate manner at all times. The company will not tolerate behaviour such as:

  • Physical violence
  • Shouting or swearing
  • Rudeness
  • Isolating, ignoring or refusing to work with certain people
  • Telling offensive jokes or name calling
  • The display of offensive material such as pornography or sexist/racist cartoons

Lewd gestures or remarks 

 

Recruitment and selection

Individuals involved in the recruitment and selection of staff will ensure the company recruitment and selection policy is adhered to and that:

  • A carefully worded and objective job description/person specification is produced for all vacancies, outlining the essential skills, knowledge and experience required
  • Job advertisements are agreed by the HR Officer and circulated to encourage applications from all sections of the community. Advertisements will not contain any age limits
  • Application forms will reflect our commitment to the ‘Confident about Disability’ standard for applicants with a disability. They will also explain our aims to be an equal opportunities employer, to recruit a diverse workforce which reflects the makeup of the local community and to generally promote diversity principles (Fit work with UXL)
  • Short-listing and selection will be based on objective criteria relevant to the job and decisions made by suitably trained staff, purely on the basis of merit. The reason for all decisions will be recorded

 

Training, Development and Promotion

The company will ensure that irrespective of any personal characteristics:

  • The training necessary to implement this equality policy is provided
  • All employees are encouraged to achieve their full potential
  • Selection for all training, career development opportunities and job moves will be purely on the basis of merit
  • All staff will undergo mandatory equality and diversity training. Those responsible for equality and diversity will work towards a level II certificate in Equality and Diversity and consider further CPD in this subject
  • Appraisals of performance will be conducted objectively and timely
  • Selection for promotion will be purely on the basis of merit and where underrepresentation is identified we will take positive action to address this

 

Meeting Individual needs

As far as possible the company will try to meet the needs of individuals at work. For example:

  • Caring and domestic responsibilities – time off may be appropriate to allow staff to care for children or sick relatives to help them balance their work and home responsibilities
  • Working patterns – wherever possible training courses and meetings should be planned to allow attendance by staff working non-standard hours
  • Disability – disabled staff and customers should be consulted about any reasonable adjustments which could be made to allow them to better perform their function
  • Religious practices – it may be necessary to provide time off for prayer or religious festivals or relax dress standards to meet religious needs.

Complaints

If staff feel this policy has been breached they should try to speak to their leader in the first instance, who will ensure all issues are investigated and dealt with appropriately.

Formal complaints about breaches of this policy can be made using the company’s grievance procedure and complaints should be made via managers or the HR Officer as appropriate.

Further advice and support regarding complaints can be obtained from Head of area, or the HR Officer

Positive action initiatives

As demonstration to its commitment to promoting diversity the organisation may undertake positive action initiatives for certain groups of staff. Positive action involves offering particular development opportunities to certain groups of staff to enable them to compete more equally with other staff. This should not be confused with positive discrimination (i.e. deliberately offering someone preferential treatment) which is illegal.

Monitoring, reviewing and consultation

The effectiveness of this policy will be monitored through the collation of statistics broken down by gender, race, disability and any other areas where it is perceived problems exist. Both employees and service users/customers will be included. The result of this monitoring will be circulated.

The whole employee journey will be monitored and will include:

  • Recruitment & Selection
  • Induction
  • Training
  • Promotion
  • Discipline
  • Grievance
  • Dismissal
  • Exit

This policy will be reviewed annually to ensure it remains current and links appropriately with other policies. Staff and their representatives will be consulted as part of the review process.

The principles of this policy will also be considered when developing other new organisational policies.

Related Documents

  • Bullying and Harassment Policy/Procedure
  • Grievance Procedure
  • Staff Handbook
  • Recruitment & Selection Policy/Procedure

Protected characteristics

Age

Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32 year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18 – 30 year olds).

Disability

A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Gender

A man or a woman.

Gender Reassignment

The process of transitioning from one gender to another. The definition has changed so that people no longer have to be under medical supervision to be protected by the law.

Marriage and Civil Partnership

Marriage is defined as a ‘union between a man and a woman’. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters.

Pregnancy and Maternity

Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

Race

Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

Religion and Belief

Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

Sexual Orientation

Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes

Transgender

Describes people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate

Age

Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age (e.g. 32 year olds) or range of ages (e.g. 18 – 30 year olds).

Disability

A person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

Gender

A man or a woman.

Gender Reassignment

The process of transitioning from one gender to another. The definition has changed so that people no longer have to be under medical supervision to be protected by the law.

Marriage and Civil Partnership

Marriage is defined as a ‘union between a man and a woman’. Same-sex couples can have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must be treated the same as married couples on a wide range of legal matters.

Pregnancy and Maternity

Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

Race

Refers to the protected characteristic of Race. It refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

Religion and Belief

Religion has the meaning usually given to it but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

Sexual Orientation

Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes

Transgender

Describes people whose gender identity differs from the sex the doctor marked on their birth certificate

Types of discrimination

The different types of discrimination recognised by law are:

Associative Discrimination

This occurs when a person is treated less favourably because they are linked or associated with a protected characteristic. This brings the law into line with Coleman v Attridge Law.

Disability Discrimination – EA10 makes it easier for a person to establish disability discrimination by changing the definitions of disability discrimination and replacing the concept of ‘disability-related discrimination’ with the concepts of indirect discrimination and ‘discrimination arising from disability’. This is intended to resolve the problems caused by the London Borough of Lewisham v Malcolm case.

Discrimination Arising from a Disability        

Occurs when a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected with their disability and this unfavourable treatment cannot be justified. However, treatment can be justified if it can be shown that it is intended to meet a legitimate objective in a fair, balanced and reasonable way. If this can be shown then the treatment will be lawful.

Direct Discrimination – when somebody is treated less favourably on unlawful grounds because of one or more of their protected characteristic as compared to someone else.

Harassment – is behaviour directly relating to or due to a personal characteristic or perception of it. This behaviour might violate the person’s dignity or create an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person.

Indirect Discrimination – considers rules or conditions that apply to everyone but affect one group of people more than others without good reason: for example, a company rule that says employees must do night shifts could exclude women who have children to care for.

Institutional Discrimination

Describes an attitude or culture in an organisation that supports or fails to challenge discriminatory views.

Perceptive Discrimination – direct discrimination against a person because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies to age, race, religion or belief and sexual orientation, disability, gender reassignment and sex.

Victimisation – a person is treated less favourably than others because they have made, or intend to make a complaint of discrimination.

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