Equal Opportunities, Inclusion and Diversity Policy

The organisation is committed to achieving a working environment which provides equality of opportunity and acknowledges differences. By taking into account those differences then treats everyone fairly with freedom from unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation. This Policy aims to remove unfair and discriminatory practices within the Company and to encourage full contribution
from its diverse community. The Company is committed to actively opposing all forms of discrimination.

The Company aims to provide a service to its expanding client base and at the same time become more efficient and reduce costs. In order to achieve this aim, the Company will not discriminate against its clients and customers in the means by which they can access the services and goods supplied by the Company. The Company believes that all employees and clients are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity.


1. Objectives

1.1 To prevent, reduce and stop all forms of unlawful discrimination in line with the Equality Act 2010.

1.2 The organisation is an equal opportunity employer. Equal opportunity is about good employment practices and efficient use of our most valuable asset, our employees. Every manager and employee has personal responsibility for the implementation of the policy. Any instance of doubt about the application of the policy, or other questions, should be addressed to a Senior Manager, as should any requests for special training.

1.3 The organisation will not discriminate on grounds of sex, transgender status, pregnancy or maternity, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, marital status, civil partnership status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origins, disability or age, or any other grounds (whether prohibited by legislation or otherwise).

1.4 The policy applies to the process of recruitment and selection, promotion, training, conditions of work, pay and benefits and to every other aspect of employment, including general treatment at work and the processes involved in the termination of employment.

1.5 Where increased pay and/or enhanced benefits are offered to employees on the basis of length of service, these are intended to reward loyalty, maintain motivation and reflect higher levels of relevant experience.
1.6 The policy applies to job applicants (both internal and external) and all employees and other workers whether full time, part time, temporary or seasonal contract.
1.7 Employees should note that the imposition of any provision, criterion or practice which has a disproportionate adverse impact on someone for a reason related to sex, race, marital status, civil partnership status, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability or age will be unlawful unless it can be objectively justified. In the event of any query or doubt, your Manager should be consulted.
1.8 When establishing criteria for recruitment and promotion into vacant posts, the employer will consider carefully whether any minimum or maximum number of years of relevant experience is necessary for effective performance of the job. Such restrictions will not be imposed unless there is a proper job based reason why they are necessary.

1.9 Employees who are disabled or become disabled in the course of their employment should inform the organisation about their disability. Management will then arrange to discuss with the employee what reasonable adjustments to his or her job or working conditions or environment might assist him or her in the performance of his or her duties. The employee will also be encouraged to suggest any adjustments that he or she believes would be helpful. Careful consideration will be given to any proposals and, where reasonable and reasonably practicable such adjustments will be made. There may, however, be circumstances where it will not be reasonable or reasonably practicable for the organisation to accommodate proposals put forward by the employee.
1.10 Any member of staff may use the Grievance procedure to complain about discriminatory conduct. If the matter relates to sexual or racial harassment or harassment on the basis of transgender status, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age, then the complaint may be raised directly with your Manager. The organisation is concerned to ensure that staff feels comfortable about raising such complaints. No individual will be penalised for raising such a complaint unless the substance of the complaint is untrue or the complaint is made in bad faith, for example out of malice.
1.11 Where an employee is falsely accused of discriminatory conduct, then he or she may implement the organisation’s grievance procedure.
1.12 Any employee who makes a false accusation of harassment will be subjected to disciplinary action. In serious cases, such behaviour may be deemed to constitute gross misconduct and may result in summary dismissal.

1.13 All employees and job applicants will be asked to complete a form denoting their sex, race, ethnic origin, age and any disabilities that they have. The organisation guarantees that the information provided on this form will be used solely for the purpose of monitoring the effectiveness of its equal opportunities policy.
1.14 This policy will be monitored on a regular basis by senior management. Where there are issues with the way the policy is working, these will be looked at closely with a view to identifying measures to improve the effectiveness of the policy.


2. Preventing discrimination in employment

2.1 The Company endeavours to ensure that no employee or job applicant is discriminated against, either directly or indirectly, on the grounds of sex, transgender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, pregnancy, age, race, colour, nationality, national origins, ethnic origin or disability. This commitment applies to all the aspects of employment outlined below:

  • Recruitment and selection, including advertisements, job descriptions, interview and selection procedures
  • Training
  • Promotion and career development opportunities
  • Terms and conditions of employment, and access to employment-related benefits and facilities
  • Grievance handling and the application of disciplinary procedures
  • Selection for redundancy

3. Gender reassignment

The Company is committed to equality of opportunity and diversity in the workplace.
3.1 It is the organisation’s policy to treat all job applicants and employees fairly and equally, regardless of their sex, transgender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, pregnancy, age, race, colour, nationality, national origins, ethnic origin or disability.
3.2 This policy and procedure on gender reassignment should be read in conjunction with the organisation’s Equal Opportunities policy.
3.3 This policy applies to all job applicants and employees, whether full time, part time, fixed term, temporary or casual. It applies to the processes of recruitment, training, promotion, terms and
benefits of employment, termination of employment and to all other aspects of employment.
3.4 The organisation is committed to ensuring that a worker or employee undergoing gender reassignment is supported in his or her decision. Any employee planning to undergo gender
reassignment is encouraged to speak to a manager in confidence about the process so that the organisation can provide the support required as early as possible.
3.5 In order to provide adequate support to employees undergoing gender reassignment, the organisation will provide guidance to managers on how gender reassignment is managed in the
medical community and the implications of gender reassignment in the workplace.

3.6 Employees who are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment have the right not be harassed at work. All employees must abide by the organisation’s equal opportunities policy and antiharassment/bullying policy. Harassment is viewed by the organisation as unacceptable behaviour and will result in disciplinary action. Victims of harassment should inform a member of management and raise a grievance in accordance with the organisation’s complaints procedure or the grievance
3.7 The organisation expects all managers and supervisors to ensure that this policy and procedure are adhered to at all times.
3.8 This policy will be monitored on a regular basis by senior management. Where there are issues with the way the policy is working, these will be looked at closely with a view to identifying measures to improve the effectiveness of the policy.


4. Equal opportunities awareness

4.1 All employees will be informed of the Company’s expected standards of conduct in respect of equality of opportunity at the induction stage of employment. This will outline the need for equality in the workplace, the impact that discrimination may have on fellow employees and what the consequences of derogatory conduct or remarks may include.
4.2 Where necessary, the Company will take additional steps to ensure there is an appropriate awareness amongst employees of the effects of discriminatory behaviour.


5. Harassment

5.1 Harassment is unwanted conduct by an employee (or a group of employees) that violates another employee’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that employee.
5.2 Harassment may include comments relating to sex, transgender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, pregnancy, age, race, colour, nationality, national origins, ethnic origin or disability.
5.3 An employee can suffer from harassment even if the words complained of are untrue, and regardless of whether they relate to the employee him or herself.
Harassment may include:

  • Unwanted physical contact, ranging from touching to serious assault.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions, suggestions or pressure to participate in social activities outside work where it has been made clear that this is not welcome.
  • Suggestions that sexual favours may further an employee’s career, or that refusal may hinder it.
  • Conduct which is intimidating, such as physical, verbal and non-verbal abuse. This includes the display of sexually explicit or racially offensive material, the use of sexually explicit or racially
    offensive humour, and comments of a discriminatory nature, whether directed specifically at any particular individual or not.
  • Derogatory comments about gay lifestyles or about other religions or beliefs.
  • It is the impact of this behaviour which is relevant, not the motive or intended aim.


6. Employees’ responsibilities

All employees have the right to work in an environment which is free from any form of harassment. All employees have a responsibility to help ensure a working environment in which the dignity of employees is respected; employees must ensure their behaviour to colleagues, clients or customers do not cause offence and could not in any way be considered to be harassment. The Company fully recognises employees’ right to complain about harassment should it occur and recommends the following procedure:

6.1 Informal Complaint

  • Where an employee does not view the harassment as serious or where it is not repeated and the employee simply wants the behaviour to stop, he/she should approach the alleged harasser directly, making it clear to the person(s) harassing them that the behaviour is offensive, is not welcome and that it should be stopped.
  • Where the employee finds this difficult or embarrassing, he/she may request a member of the management team to approach the alleged harasser informally on his/her behalf.

6.2 Formal Complaint

  • The formal complaints procedure is appropriate if the employee views any harassment to which he/she has been subjected as serious; if he/she prefers this method or if the harassment continues after the informal procedure has been used. All formal complaints will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially under the Company’s Grievance Procedure.
  • Formal complaints should be made in accordance with the Company’s Grievance Procedure. An investigation will be conducted to clarify and formally record the nature of the complaint and the events surrounding the complaint and will include meetings with anyone who can assist with the investigation. During this time, every effort will be made to distance the associated parties from each other.

6.3 If an employee is accused of discrimination or harassment

  • If an employee is accused of acting in a discriminatory manner towards a fellow employee or a job applicant, or if he/she is accused of harassment, the employee will be given a proper
    opportunity to rebut the allegation as part of the investigation, and provide an explanation of his/her actions.
  • If it is concluded that there was no discrimination or harassment, this will be the end of the matter. If it is concluded that a false claim has been maliciously made against the employee, the person or persons responsible may be subject to disciplinary action.
    If it is concluded that they have acted in a discriminatory manner, or have harassed another employee, their manager will consider what action to take. This may range from counselling to formal disciplinary action, including dismissal in serious cases.

7. Management responsibilities

7.1 Managers are the guardians of equality of opportunity within their areas of responsibility. Equal Opportunities are part of the larger management responsibility of ensuring that the employment environment provides employees with motivation to do a good job. This will be impossible to achieve if individuals feel that they are being treated unfairly.
7.2 Where problems or complaints arise, managers must take these seriously and make sure they are fully investigated and that any necessary follow-up action is taken. This may include initiating disciplinary action against employees who have committed acts of discrimination or harassment.
7.3 The organisation acknowledges that it has a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments in order to facilitate the employment of disabled people.


8. Monitoring

8.1 We believe that equality of opportunity is about good and effective employment practice, and about creating an environment in which everybody can be assured that his or her contribution is valued. The Company will not tolerate harassment of any kind in the working environment and will take positive action to prevent its occurrence.
8.2 Equal Opportunities practice is developing constantly as social attitudes and legislation change. The Company will monitor the effectiveness of its policies and will implement changes where these could improve equality of opportunity. This commitment applies to all the Company’s employment policies and procedures, not just those specifically connected with equal opportunities.