Equal Opportunities policy
It is our policy to provide equality of opportunity in employment and development to all, irrespective of:
- Gender Reassignment
- Marriage and Civil Partnership
- Pregnancy and Maternity
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual Orientation
These characteristics are known as the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and are referred to as this throughout this policy. Information on the definitions of the protected characteristics is also set out later in this policy.
We are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination, victimisation or harassment. All full-time and part-time employees and job applicants (actual or potential) will be treated fairly, and selection for employment, promotion, training or any benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability.
We are committed to:-
- Preventing any form of direct, indirect, associative, or perceptive discrimination or victimisation or harassment.
- Promoting equal opportunities for everyone regardless of whether they possess, are perceived by others to possess, or associate with someone who possesses or is perceived to possess one of the protected characteristics.
- Promoting a good and harmonious working environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity and in which no form of intimidation or harassment will be tolerated.
- Fulfilling obligations under the relevant legislation and associated Codes of Practice
Breaches of our Equal Opportunity Policy and practice may be regarded as gross misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings as outlined in the Disciplinary Procedure.
This policy is fully supported by the Board of Directors and the Senior Management Team.
The Human Resources Director has specific responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy. Each Director, Manager and employee also has responsibilities and is expected to abide by the policy.
In order to implement this policy we will ensure that:
- The policy is shared with all employees, through induction training, management training, Intranet and made known to job applicants.
- Managers and Team Leaders are aware of their responsibilities through appropriate training.
- All those involved in assessing candidates for recruitment or promotion will be trained in non-discriminatory recruitment and selection techniques.
- Adequate resources are made available to fulfil the aims of this policy.
- This policy is available for all employees to view at any time on the People Hub
Monitoring and review
The provision of equality of opportunity will be monitored through the collection and analysis of statistical data on gender, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age of all full-time and part-time employees and job applicants.
Any employee who believes that they have suffered any form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation are entitled to raise the matter through the grievance procedure. A copy of these procedures are available for all employees to access on People Hub. Any employee that has difficulties accessing this policy should contact firstname.lastname@example.org who can share the policy via email. All complaints of discrimination will be dealt with seriously and promptly.
Every effort will be made to ensure that employees making complaints will not be victimised. Any act of victimisation will result in disciplinary action and may warrant dismissal.
Third Party harassment
The Company recognises the right of its employees not to suffer any form of harassment perpetrated by third parties who are not employees of the company but do have regular contact with employees of the company, such as customers or suppliers. The Company will take all reasonable steps to prevent such behaviour taking place. An employee should report this type of behaviour to a manager or director of the Company as soon as possible to allow the Company to take these reasonable steps.
DEFINITIONS OF PROTECTED CHARACTERISTICS UNDER THE EQUALITY ACT 2010
The Act protects people of all ages. However, different treatment because of age is not unlawful direct or indirect discrimination if it can be justified, i.e. if it is a proportionate means of meeting a legitimate aim. Age is the only protected characteristic that allows employers to justify direct discrimination.
Under the Act, a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which would include things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport.
- Gender reassignment
The Act provides protection for transsexual people. A transsexual person is someone who proposes to, starts, or has completed a process to change his or her gender. The Act no longer requires a person to be under medical supervision to be protected – so a woman who decides to live permanently as a man but does not undergo any medical procedures would be covered.
It is discrimination to treat transsexual people less favourably for being absent from work because they propose to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment than they would be treated if they were absent because they were ill or injured. Medical procedures for gender reassignment such as hormone treatment should not be treated as a ‘lifestyle’ choice.
- Marriage and civil partnership
The Act protects employees who are married or in a civil partnership against discrimination. Single people are not protected.
- Pregnancy and maternity
A woman is protected against discrimination on the grounds of pregnancy and maternity during the period of her pregnancy and any statutory maternity leave to which she is entitled.
For the purposes of the Act ‘race’ includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins. A racial group can be made up of two or more different racial groups (eg Black Britons).
- Religion or belief
In the Act, religion includes any religion. It also includes a lack of religion, in other words employees or jobseekers are protected if they do not follow a certain religion or have no religion at all. Additionally, a religion must have a clear structure and belief system. Belief means any religious or philosophical belief or a lack of such belief. To be protected, a belief must satisfy various criteria, including that it is a weighty and substantial aspect of human life and behaviour. Denominations or sects within a religion can be considered a protected religion or religious belief. Humanism is a protected philosophical belief but political beliefs would not be protected.
Discrimination because of religion or belief can occur even where both the discriminator and recipient are of the same religion or belief.
Both men and women are protected under the Act.
- Sexual orientation
The Act protects bisexual, gay, heterosexual and lesbian people.
FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
- Direct Discrimination
Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have (see perceptive discrimination below), or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic (see associative discrimination below).
- Indirect Discrimination
Indirect discrimination can occur when a condition, rule, policy or even a practice in the Company is in place that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic.
Indirect discrimination can be justified if the Company can demonstrate that it acted reasonably in managing its business, i.e. that it is ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’. A legitimate aim might be any lawful decision the Company makes in running its business or organisation.
In order to establish a complaint of indirect discrimination, an applicant must show the following:
- That a requirement or a condition has been applied
- That the said requirement or condition adversely impacts against the person because of his/her religious belief, sex, marital status, age, race, nationality or ethnic/national origin
- That he/she has suffered detriment by reason being unable to comply with the condition or requirement.
- Associative discrimination
This is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.
- Perceptive discrimination
This is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic.
Victimisation occurs when a person is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or promotion because that person has, for example, asserted rights under The Equality Act 2010 (or any other equal opportunities legislation) or has helped another person to assert such rights or given information to the relevant statutory body, or because it is suspected that the person might do any of these things.
Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.
Employees can raise a complaint of harassment if they experience behaviour that they find offensive even if it is not directed at them, and the complainant need not possess the relevant characteristic themselves. Employees are also protected from harassment because of perception and association.
Please also refer to the RM policy on Bullying & Harassment & RM Grievance Policy for associated information.