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Equality & diversity

service users

The Company is an equal opportunities employer and are committed to the treatment of all our employees and job applicants equally and ensuring that our workplace is free from unlawful and unfair discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality, national origin, ethnic origin, caste, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, disability or age.

All employment decisions will be made without taking into account discriminatory factors.

The Company will ensure that the work environment is free of harassment and bullying and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect, it is an important aspect of ensuring equal opportunities in employment. 

This document is intended to assist our employees in putting this commitment into practice and to ensure that employees fully understand:

Equal Opportunities

It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly in recruitment or employment on grounds of sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, caste, sexual orientation or religion or belief, or because someone is married or is a civil partner. These are known as “protected characteristics”. It is unlawful to treat someone less favourably on grounds of disability than others without that disability are or would be treated, unless the less favourable treatment can be justified, or to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers to employment caused by disability. It is unlawful to discriminate unjustifiably on grounds of age in relation to employment.

It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly in the provision of goods, facilities or services to customers on grounds of sex (which may include gender reassignment), pregnancy, maternity, religion or belief, sexual orientation, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins or caste. It is unlawful to discriminate, without justification, on grounds of disability or to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers to using services caused by disability. The duty to make reasonable adjustments includes the removal, adaptation or alteration of physical features, if the physical features make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of services. In addition, service providers have an obligation to think ahead and address any barriers that may impede disabled people from accessing a service. 

Discrimination after employment may also be unlawful, for example: refusing to give a reference for a reason related to one of the protected characteristics. Some types of harassment or bullying will be unlawful discrimination.

It is unlawful to victimise someone because he or she has alleged unlawful discrimination or supported someone to make a complaint or given evidence in relation to a complaint.

Types of Discrimination 

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is unjustifiably treated less favourably on the grounds of their sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, caste, sexual orientation or religion or belief, or because someone is married or is a civil partner, disability or age. In limited circumstances, direct discrimination may be lawful where there is an occupational requirement. The occupational requirement must be crucial to the post and a proportionate means of achievement a legitimate aim. An example of direct sex discrimination would be refusing to employ a woman because she was pregnant.

Indirect Discrimination occurs when an unjustified provision, condition or practice is imposed which one group of people find more difficult to satisfy than another and it places the individual at a disadvantage. An example of indirect sex discrimination could be requiring everyone to work full time unless there is a good reason, unrelated to sex, as to why the particular job has to be done on a full-time basis, since requiring everyone to work full time will normally adversely affect a higher proportion of women than men.

Harassment is where there is unwanted conduct relating to sex, gender reassignment, colour, race, nationality, ethnic or national origins, caste, sexual orientation or religion or belief, or, disability or age, (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity) which has the purpose of violating a person's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person, or is reasonably considered by that person to have the effect of violating his or her dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him or her, even if this effect was not intended by the person responsible for the conduct.

Associative Discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed for association with another individual who has a protected characteristic (although it does not cover harassment because of marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity).

Perceptive Discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed based on a perception that he/she has a particular protected characteristic when he/she does not, in fact, have that protected characteristic (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity). 

Failure to make reasonable adjustments is where arrangements disadvantage an individual because of a disability and reasonable adjustments are not made to overcome the disadvantage.

Victimisation is where someone is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or a promotion because he/she made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because he or she is suspected of doing so. However, an employee is not protected from victimisation if he or she acted maliciously or made or supported an untrue complaint. There is no longer a need for a complainant to compare his or her treatment with someone who has not made or supported a complaint under the Equality Act 2010. For example, if a blind employee raises a grievance that the employer is not complying with its duty to make reasonable adjustments, and is then systematically excluded from all meetings, such behaviour could amount to victimisation.

Equal Opportunities in Employment

The Company will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy.

Job specifications will be limited to those requirements that are necessary for the effective performance of the job. Candidates for employment or promotion will be assessed objectively against the requirements for the job, taking account of any reasonable adjustments that may be required for candidates with a disability. Disability and personal or home commitments will not form the basis of employment decisions except where necessary.

The Company will consider any possible indirectly discriminatory effect of its standard working practices, including the number of hours to be worked, the times at which these are to be worked and the place at which work is to be done, when considering requests for variations to these standard working practices and the Company will refuse such requests only if the Company has good reasons, unrelated to any discriminatory factors. The Company will comply with our obligations in relation to statutory requests for contract variations and will also make reasonable adjustments to standard working practices to overcome barriers caused by disability

The Company will not discriminate in the selection of employees for recruitment or promotion, but the Company may use appropriate lawful methods, including lawful positive action, to address the under-representation of any group which the Company identifies as being underrepresented in particular types of job.

Dignity at Work

What is Bullying and Harassment?

Bullying is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power which is meant to undermine, humiliate or injure the person on the receiving end.

Harassment is unwanted conduct related to sex, gender reassignment, race or ethnic or national origins, caste, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age or any other personal characteristic which:

Conduct may be harassment whether or not the person behaving in that way intends to offend. Something intended as a "joke" may offend another person. Different people find different things acceptable. Everyone has the right to decide what behaviour is acceptable to him or her and to have his or her feelings respected by others. Behaviour which any reasonable person would realise to be likely to offend will be harassment without the recipient having to make it clear in advance that behaviour of that type is not acceptable to him or her, for example, sexual touching. It may not be so clear in advance that some other forms of behaviour would be unwelcome to, or could offend, a particular person, for example, certain "banter", flirting or asking someone for a private drink after work. In these cases, first-time conduct which unintentionally causes offence will not be harassment, but it will become harassment if the conduct continues after the recipient has made it clear, by words or conduct, that such behaviour is unacceptable to him or her.

Harassment may also occur where a person engages in unwanted conduct towards another because he or she perceives that the recipient has a protected characteristic (for example, a perception that he or she is of a different sexual orientation or disabled), when the recipient does not, in fact, have that protected characteristic. For example, it would be harassment for an individual to tease repeatedly an individual because of an incorrect belief that the recipient is deaf. Similarly, harassment could take place where an individual is bullied or harassed because of another person with whom the individual is connected or associated, for example if his or her child is disabled, wife is pregnant or friend is a devout Christian.

Harassment also includes circumstances where an individual is subject to unwanted conduct from a third party, such as a tenant or a supplier. For example, it might be that a tenant makes a series of racist remarks to a black employee. If an employee feels that he or she has been bullied or harassed by tenants, suppliers, or visitors, he or she should report such behavior to their Manager who will take appropriate action. 

Bullying or harassment of tenants, suppliers, , visitors or others will be dealt with through the disciplinary procedure.

A single incident can be harassment if it is sufficiently serious.

All bullying and harassment is misconduct and is a disciplinary offence which will be dealt with under the Company's disciplinary procedure. Bullying or harassment will often be gross misconduct which can lead to dismissal without notice.

Some bullying or harassment will constitute unlawful discrimination, for example: if it relates to a person's sex, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, caste, sexual orientation or disability. Harassment on the grounds of age is also unlawful.

Serious bullying or harassment may amount to other civil or criminal offences, for example civil or criminal offences under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 and criminal offences of assault.

Examples of Bullying and Harassment

Bullying and harassment may be misconduct which is physical, verbal or non-verbal, for example: by letter or e-mail. Examples of unacceptable behaviour that are covered by this procedure include (but are not limited to) the following:

physical conduct ranging from unwelcome touching to serious assault;

Victimisation

Victimisation is treating someone less favorably than others because he or she has, in good faith, complained (whether formally or otherwise) that someone has been bullying or harassing him or her or someone else, or supported someone to make a complaint or given evidence in relation to a complaint. This would include isolating someone because he or she has made a complaint or giving him or her worse work.

Provided that the employee acts in good faith, i.e: the employee genuinely believes that what the employee is saying is true, the employee has a right not to be victimised for making a complaint or doing anything in relation to a complaint of bullying or harassment and the Company will take appropriate action to deal with any alleged victimisation, which may include disciplinary action against anyone found to have victimised the employee.

Making a complaint which an employee knows to be untrue, or giving evidence which an employee knows to be untrue, may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the employee.

What if an Employee is Being Bullied or Harassed.

The employee may be able to sort out matters informally. The person may not know that his or her behaviour is unwelcome or upsetting. An informal discussion may help them to understand the effects of their behaviour and agree to change it. The employee may feel able to approach the person themselves, or with the help of a manager or another employee.

Alternatively, an initial approach could be made on the employee’s behalf by one of these people. The employee should tell the person what behaviour they find offensive and unwelcome and say that they would like it to stop immediately. The employee may want to add that, if the behaviour continues, the employee intend to make a formal complaint to their Manager. The employee should keep a note of the date and what was said and done. This will be useful evidence if the unacceptable behaviour continues and the employee wishes to make a formal complaint.

If an informal approach does not resolve matters, or the employee considers the situation is too serious to be dealt with informally, the employee can make a formal complaint by using the grievance procedure.

In very serious cases, a criminal offence may have been committed and the employee may wish to report matters to the police. Their Manager can arrange for someone to accompany the employee to make a complaint to the police.

All complaints will be investigated promptly and, if appropriate, disciplinary proceedings will be brought against the alleged harasser. The employee will have the right to be accompanied by a work colleague of their choice at any meeting dealing with their grievance. The employee will be kept informed of the general progress of the process of investigation and the outcome of any disciplinary proceedings. The Company will decide on a balance of probabilities, after considering all available evidence, whether harassment or bullying has occurred.

The Company will treat complaints of bullying and harassment sensitively and maintain confidentiality to the maximum extent possible. Investigation of allegations will normally require limited disclosure on a "need to know" basis. For example, an employee’s identity and the nature of the allegations must be revealed to the person the employee are complaining about, so that they are able to respond to the allegations. Some details may also have to be given to potential witnesses, but the importance of confidentiality will be emphasised to them.

Wherever possible, the Company will try to ensure that the employee and the alleged harasser are not required to work together whilst the complaint is under investigation. This could involve giving the employee the option of remaining home on special leave, if the employee wishes. In a serious case, the alleged harasser may be suspended whilst investigation and any disciplinary proceedings are underway.

If the employee’s complaint is upheld, and the person found to have bullied or harassed them remains in employment, every effort will be made to ensure, if possible, that, if the employee does not wish to, the employee does not have to continue to work alongside the harasser. The Company will discuss the options with the employee. These may include the transfer of the harasser or, if the employee wishes, The employee may be able to transfer to another post.

If the employee’s complaint is not upheld, their Manager will support the and the alleged harasser in making arrangements for both to continue or resume working together and to help repair working relationships. The complainant’s Manager may consider the use of an internal or external mediator in these circumstances. Where possible, the Company may consider making arrangements to avoid the complainant and the alleged harasser having to continue to work alongside each other, if either of them do not wish to do this.

An employee has a right not to be victimised for making a complaint in good faith, even if the complaint is not upheld. However, making a complaint which an employee knows to be untrue may lead to disciplinary action being taken against the employee.

Some types of bullying or harassment may constitute unlawful discrimination and may be given rise to the possibility of other civil claims or criminal proceedings.

Responsibilities 

Every employee is required to assist the Company to meet its commitment to provide equal opportunities in employment and avoid unlawful discrimination.

Employees can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, the Company for any act of unlawful discrimination and in serious instances, may be guilty of a criminal offence.

Acts of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation against employees, patients or customers are disciplinary offences and will be dealt with under the Company's disciplinary procedure. Discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation may constitute gross misconduct and could lead to dismissal without notice.

Everyone has a responsibility to help create and maintain a work environment free of bullying and harassment by:

Managers have a particular responsibility to:

Customers, Suppliers, Visitors and Others

The Company will not discriminate unlawfully against customers, suppliers, visitors or others using or seeking to use goods, facilities or services provided by us. Employees should report any bullying or harassment by customers, suppliers, visitors or others to their manager who will take appropriate action.

The Company will take any complaint seriously and will seek to resolve any grievance which it upholds. An employee will not be penalised for raising a grievance, even if the grievance is not upheld, unless the complaint is both untrue and made in bad faith.

Monitoring

The Company will monitor the effectiveness of this training and will amend/revise the training material and frequency as required.

Employees are encouraged to discuss the training materials with their Managers or Directors. The Company and its Directors encourage feedback at all levels in this regard.


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