Equal Opportunities Policy


Statement

The Company aims to be an equal opportunity employer. It is committed to ensuring that all employees have a working environment which is free from harassment and bullying, are treated fairly and with dignity and respect. The Company aims to ensure that no employee is treated less favourably on the grounds of a Protected Characteristic without justification.

Protected Characteristics in this policy are Age, Disability, Gender re-assignment, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex, or Sexual Orientation. Discrimination can occur based on a perception that a person has a particular characteristic even if the perception is incorrect.

This policy applies to all aspects of the employment relationship including, vacancy advertising, selection, recruitment, promotion, training, transfer, dismissal, as well as conditions of employment including remuneration, and grievance and disciplinary procedures.

This policy also applies to the recruitment of persons from outside of the workplace and the treatment of contract workers. The Company will recruit employees and make other employment decisions concerning promotion, training etc, on the basis of objective criteria.

This policy applies to conduct both in and out of the workplace, such as on business trips, or at work related functions or social events, and in relation to social media (also covered in the social media policy).

Types of Discrimination

There are 4 main types of discrimination

Direct Discrimination occurs when a person is subjected to less favourable treatment on the grounds of a Protected Characteristic.

Indirect Discrimination occurs when a provision, criteria or practice is applied, which places people with a Protected Characteristic at a particular disadvantage and the provision, criteria or practice cannot be justified as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Victimisation occurs where a person is subject to a detriment by virtue of action they have taken or are proposing to take, or any complaint they have made or are proposing to make in connection with their statutory rights.

Harassment occurs when a person is subjected to unwanted conduct relating to a relevant Protected Characteristic, being Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Race, Religion or Belief, Sex or Sexual Orientation, that has the purpose or effect of (a) violating the person's dignity, or (b) creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Organisation

The person responsible for the effective operation of the Company’s Equal Opportunities Policy is HR Manager.

Employees’ liability

Employees have a personal responsibility not to practice, induce or encourage any form of discrimination against applicants for employment or their colleagues. Failure to comply with this policy will result in disciplinary action being taken against the employee in question.

Employees should be aware that in certain circumstances if they are guilty of discrimination they may be personally liable for their actions in a court of law.

The Company also asks any employee to report any suspected or actual discriminatory acts, whether perpetrated by an employee of the Company or any third party to the person responsible for this policy who will take the appropriate action. The Company cannot address any issue unless it is aware of any potentially discriminatory conduct.

Policy

  1. Advertising vacancies

1.1 Vacancies may generally be advertised to a diverse section of the labour market and generally in either sector specific publications or sites, or in the general press or recruitment sites.

1.2 Advertisements should be in accordance with any specific Company wording or instructions or in an approved format. Advertisements should avoid using words that may discourage particular groups from applying.

1.3 All vacancy advertisements shall, where possible, include an appropriate short statement on equal opportunities and identify the Company as an equal opportunity employer.

1.4 Any concerns regarding the wording of an advertisement, or an appropriate format should be directed to your Immediate Manager or a Director.

  1. Recruitment and Selection

2.1 Selection criteria, i.e. job description and employee specification shall be kept under review to ensure that the criteria are justifiable and non-discriminatory and are essential for the effective performance of the job.

2.2 Wherever possible, more than one person should be involved in the selection interview and recruitment process and all should have received training in equal opportunities.

2.3 Individual candidates shall be assessed according to their capability to carry out a given job. Questions should relate to the requirements of the job. If it is necessary to assess whether personal circumstances may affect job performance, this should be done objectively.

2.4 Assumptions that only certain types of person will be able to perform certain types of work should not be made.

2.5 Recruitment solely or primarily by word of mouth should be avoided if its effect is or may be to prevent certain types of person from applying.

2.6 Where the Company’s arrangements for recruitment and selection put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage due to a reason connected with their disability, and the Company is aware of the disability, where appropriate reasonable adjustments to the arrangements may be made to eliminate or if that is not reasonably practicable, reduce the disadvantage unless objectively justified.

2.7 Written records of interviews and reasons for appointment and non-appointment should be kept, unless the reason for non-appointment is immediately obvious.

2.8 Questions shall be asked about the health of an applicant only to the extent that the question is relevant to an aspect of the role, the assessment process or as otherwise permitted by law.

  1. Promotion, transfer and training

3.1 Assessment criteria and appraisal schemes shall be kept under review to ensure that they are non-discriminatory and can be genuinely justified.

3.2 All promotions or transfers will be made strictly on merit.

3.3 Any training provided will be strictly for proper performance of the employee’s role.

3.4 Promotion and career development patterns will be monitored to ensure that access is not being unjustifiably restricted or excluded to particular groups of employees.

3.5 Wherever possible efforts will be made to identify and remove unnecessary and/or unjustifiable barriers and provide appropriate facilities to meet the special needs of disadvantaged and/or unrepresented groups of employees.

3.6 Where the Company’s arrangements in relation to promotion, transfer or training put disabled employees at a substantial disadvantage for a reason connected with their disability, reasonable adjustments to the arrangements shall be made to eliminate or, if that is not reasonably practicable, reduce the disadvantage unless objectively justified.

  1. Terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services

4.1 The terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services available to employees shall be kept under review to ensure that they are provided in a way that is non-discriminatory and do not place particular groups of employees at a disadvantage.

4.2 Part-time employees shall receive pay, benefits, facilities and services on a pro-rata basis to their full-time comparator unless otherwise objectively justified.

4.3 Where the Company’s arrangements relating to terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services put disabled employees at a substantial disadvantage due to a reason connected with their disability and the Company is aware of the employee’s disability, reasonable adjustments to the arrangements shall be made to eliminate or, if that is not reasonably practicable, reduce the disadvantage unless otherwise objectively justified.

  1. Personnel Records

5.1 In order to ensure the effective operation of the equal opportunity policy, records may be kept of all information provided indicating the gender, age, racial origins, sexual orientation, religion and disability of employees and job applicants. This may be within individual personnel files, or in a separate record for monitoring purposes. Information relating to unsuccessful job applicants may be deleted after 12 months.

5.2 Where necessary, employees will be able to check/correct information held in accordance with paragraph 5.1 above.

5.3 With the exception of 5.2 above, access to this information will be strictly restricted to assessing the effective operation of this policy. The records will not be released to any third party, unless required or permitted by law, without the employee’s express consent.

5.4 The records will be analysed regularly and appropriate follow-up action taken if necessary.

  1. Anti-harassment

6.1 Harassment as a form of discrimination is defined within this policy, and can include just a single incident. Harassment is unacceptable even if it does not relate to a Protected Characteristic and may result in disciplinary action and/or dismissal.

6.2 Harassment can take many forms and may include, for example

(a) unwanted physical conduct or "horseplay", including touching, pinching, pushing and grabbing;

(b) sending or displaying material that is pornographic or that some people may find offensive (including e-mails, text messages, video clips and images sent by mobile phone or posted on the internet);

(c) unwelcome sexual advances or suggestive behaviour (which the harasser may perceive as harmless);

(d) racist, sexist, homophobic or ageist jokes, or derogatory or stereotypical remarks about a particular ethnic or religious group or gender;

(e) outing or threatening to out someone as gay or lesbian;

(f) offensive e-mails, text messages or social media content; or

(g) mocking, mimicking or belittling a person's disability.

 

6.3 A person may be harassed even if they were not the intended "target". For example, a person may be harassed by racist jokes about a different ethnic group if the jokes create an offensive environment.

6.4 If an employee feels that he or she is being harassed or bullied, the employee may if appropriate raise the matter informally with the person concerned, or alternatively if to do so would be uncomfortable, embarrassing or the employee feels this is inappropriate the employee should raise the matter in accordance with the Grievance Procedure.

  1. General

7.1 Where the Company is of the opinion that it is required, staff may be provided with appropriate equal opportunities training including where necessary appropriate updates or refresher training. Should an employee require training on equal opportunities, the employee should raise the matter with the Immediate Manager in order that the need can be assessed and appropriate arrangements made.

7.2 This policy will be regularly reviewed and updated if necessary to ensure that it is working in practice.

7.3 The Company will make this policy available to all its employees and where applicable, job applicants.

7.4 Any complaints regarding the operation of this policy, or any other matters relating to equal opportunities within the Company shall be investigated through the Company’s internal Grievance Procedures. Any complaint should be raised to a member of management in accordance with the Company Grievance Procedure.

7.5 Failure by an employee to comply with any aspect of the Equal Opportunities Policy, procedures or rules will be regarded as misconduct which will be dealt with under the Company’s Disciplinary Procedure.