Equal Opportunities PolicyLet Me Organise You aims to be an inclusive organisation where everyone is treated with respect and dignity, and where there is equal opportunity for all.
Let Me Organise You respects and values the diversity of its founder and users.
This means that all Let Me Organise You’ founder and clients should understand and respect that in a diverse work force and community everyone has the right to be treated with dignity and equality. This includes the legal and ethical requirement for Let Me Organise You to provide a service that is appropriate to the needs of a diverse society.
Valuing diversity means that we recognise that we all have complex identities made up of many strands. These can include, but are not limited to, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, physical and metal aptitudes, nationality, socio-economic status, and religious, political or other beliefs. This means we embrace and celebrate our differences in a positive environment, and are committed to engage with the needs of our diverse staff and users to enable us, both individually and corporately, to achieve our aims.
Let Me Organise You will tackle barriers to participation and create a culture in which equal opportunities and equal treatment are a priority for founder and clients. In all our day-to-day work with both founder and clients, we seek to create an environment where attitudes and biases that hinder the progress of individuals and groups are dismantled and where we work together in mutual respect and tolerance.
It is the responsibility of the founder to:
- Ensure that the standards established within this policy are adhered to within their area of responsibility
- Familiarise themselves with the procedures in all Equal Opportunities documentation
- Ensure that they are not acting or asking clients to act in a discriminatory manner
- Ensure they are not putting pressure on clients to discriminate
Over and above the provisions set out in its own policy and procedures, the company is also bound by certain legal responsibilities in the field of equal opportunities. These include:
- The Race Relations Act 1976 (as amended)
- The Equal Pay Act 1970, Equal Pay (Amendment) Regulation 1983 and Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and 1986 (as amended)
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- European Law
Useful Definitions (Business and Employment Context)
What is Discrimination?
Discrimination in business happens as a result of prejudice, misconception and stereotyping which in turn hinders the proper consideration of an individual’s talents, skills, abilities, potential and experience. It can be direct or indirect, intentional or not intentional. What is most important is that certain forms of discrimination are not just unfair – they are illegal!
The following are terms which may be used when discussing matters of equal opportunities:
Direct discrimination takes place when a person is treated less favourably than others (in the same circumstances) on the grounds of their race, sex, disability etc.
For example, a job advertisement, which states “Only those who have English as their first language may apply”.
Indirect discrimination means applying a condition, or requirement, which adversely affects one particular group more than another, and cannot be justified in terms of the requirements for performing a job.
For example, a line manager who only offers overtime to full time members of staff (the group being directly discriminated against will be part timers but where female part timers form the majority of the part time group they would be eligible to claim indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender).
Victimisation consists of taking action against a person for asserting their rights under the law.
For example, a member of staff who has spoken to their line manager about being the subject of racial harassment by another member of staff and who is subsequently ignored by a group of staff within the section.
Harassment and bullying take many forms, occurs on a variety of grounds and may be directed at one person or many people. In general terms it can be described as persistent unwanted behaviour which a person finds intimidating, upsetting, embarrassing, humiliating or offensive. Chapter 5 deals with harassment and bullying in more detail.
Positive Action is allowed by law to encourage employees who are members of disadvantaged groups which have been under-represented in particular work areas to receive special training programmes so as to enable them to compete equally for jobs.
Positive Discrimination is where an employer discriminates in favour of a certain group with the intent of raising the profile of that particular group. It is illegal in this country but used widely in the USA and allows employers to limit activities to specific under-represented groups.
For example, a company advertises for Asian staff due to the fact they are under-represented in the workforce.
Genuine Occupational Qualification
The law recognises that there will be occasions when it is necessary to restrict certain jobs to certain categories or groups of people. This is rare and an employer would have to demonstrate that they have researched the requirement thoroughly before setting it. These are referred to as genuine occupational qualifications or GOQs.
For example, an employer whose work requires them to recruit a female to work in a woman’s refuge may place this requirement as part of the selection criteria.
Over and above the provisions set out in its own policy and procedures, Let Me Organise You is also bound by certain legal responsibilities in the field of equal opportunities. The key areas of these are as follows (Where relevant):
- Equal Pay Act 1970
- Sex Discrimination Act 1975
- Race Relations Act 1976, Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000, Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003
- Disability Discrimination Act 1995
- Employment Rights Act 1996
- Employment Act 2002
- Religion or Belief Regulations 2003, Sexual Orientation Regulations 2003, Age Discrimination Regulations 2006
There has been various legislation relevant to equality of opportunity which has emanated from Brussels. This includes Article 119 – Treaty of Rome (), the Equal Pay and Equal Treatment Directives of 1975 and 1976 and the European Commission recommendation and Approved Code of Practice on the Dignity of Women and Men at Work 1991.
Codes of Practice
Additionally, evidence of non-compliance with the Codes of Practice (incorporated in this policy and procedural document) issued by the Cabinet Office is admissible before an Employment Tribunal and will usually lead the Tribunal to draw the inference that an unlawful act of discrimination has occurred.
Learning & Development
Let Me Organise You will:
- Ensure equal opportunity of access to, and benefit from, all forms of learning and development activity.
- Ensure that training which covers their rights and responsibilities under the Diversity and Equal Opportunity Policy and Procedures is available when needed.
- Ensure that diversity and equal opportunities issues are addressed fairly.
- Provide flexibilities to accommodate the needs of staff on flexible working patterns.
- Provide flexibilities to accommodate cultural or religious needs of staff e.g. days of worship, diet etc.
- Provide flexibilities to accommodate any special arrangements e.g. wheelchair access, signing etc.
- Monitor who takes part in training in terms of age, gender, ethnic origin and disability.
This procedure will be reviewed annually or as required by legislative or policy changes.
HARASSMENT AND BULLYING
What is Harassment?
Harassment is any behaviour which is unwelcome, unreciprocated or offensive to the individual receiving it. It can include comments, actions, jokes and suggestions. It is often intimidating and threatening. Sometimes it can be persistent and sometimes it can take the form of an isolated incident. It can be directed to one person or a group of people. It can involve physical contact or be verbal, written or silent.
Most forms of harassment are based on race or sex but it can also occur because one individual takes a dislike to another. It is of particular concern if the harasser is in a position of authority over the recipient.
Many individuals who are accused of harassment claim that they only intended the remark or action as a joke – this is no excuse. Harassment (as defined) is never a joke or harmless fun.
Individuals can be harassed for a number of reasons including:
- sexual orientation
- religious or political convictions
- membership or non-membership of a trade union
- physical appearance
It should be clearly understood that harassment of any form is contrary to Let Me Organise You.’s Equal Opportunities Policy and that where evidence of it taking place is found; the disciplinary procedure for gross misconduct will be assessed. It should also be noted that harassment on the grounds of race, sex or disability is illegal.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is often a form of harassment and may manifest itself in many ways. It is usually persistent and can be done by a manager, colleague or group of people to another individual. It is insidious and often undermines the ability and confidence of the person who is suffering it. It can lead to fear, demotivation, isolation, poor concentration, and reduced output, symptoms of stress and high sickness absence levels.
Both harassment and bullying are about an abuse of power whether by physical strength, force of personality or position of authority. If bullying involves issues of gender, race or disability then legislation may apply. As with any form of harassment, it is contrary to Let Me Organise You’ Equal Opportunities Policy and as such disciplinary action may be invoked.
Examples of Harassment and Bullying (In a group persons context, but respected at Let Me Organise You):
- Sexual Harassment
Pictures of scantily clad males or females which cause offence to either sex
Use of explicit sexual language either in jokes or general conversation in a way that may give offence.
- Racial Harassment
Junior members of staff persistently use stereotypical gestures when dealing with a black manager
- Racist graffiti
Racist jokes, derogatory nicknames or offensive T-shirt comments
- Disability Harassment
Colleagues repeatedly making fun of a deaf person behind their back, throwing objects at them to gain their attention
Deliberate use of comments such as “Are you blind” to someone with visual impairments
Deliberately making it difficult for a person in a wheel chair to leave the room by placing bulky packages in their path
Shouting at individuals in a public environment
Consistently targeting a single member of staff whose work has to be checked
One group of staff refusing to talk to an individual
Consistently undermining a line manager
These examples are not exhaustive but provide a cross section of non-verbal, verbal and physical ways in which an individual or group of individuals can be harassed or bullied.
Version 1.0: December 2011