This policy applies to our employees. This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment. The Company may amend it at any time.
The Company 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 a personal responsibility for the implementation of the policy. It is the Company’s policy to treat all job applicants and employees fairly and equally, regardless of sex, pregnancy, maternity, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, age, race, colour, nationality, national or ethnic origins or disability. These are called ‘protected characteristics’. It is our policy to promote an environment free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

The Company will monitor the composition of the workforce to ensure that this policy is effective. Through this policy and procedure, and the training and development of managers and staff, the Company will do all it can to promote good practice in this area in order to eliminate discrimination and harassment as far as is reasonably possible. Striving to ensure that the work environment is free of harassment and bullying and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect is an important aspect of ensuring equal opportunities in employment.

The Company has a separate dignity at work policy, which deals with these issues. This 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 termination of employment.

Definitions and types of unlawful discrimination
Direct discriminationis where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic. An example of direct discrimination would be refusing to employ a woman because she is pregnant. In limited circumstances, employers can directly discriminate against an individual for a reason related to any of the protected characteristics where there is an occupational requirement. The occupational requirement must be crucial to the post and a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criterion or practice is applied that is discriminatory in relation to individuals who have a relevant protected characteristic (although it does not explicitly include pregnancy and maternity, which is covered by indirect sex discrimination) such that it would be to the detriment of people who share that protected characteristic compared with people who do not, and it cannot be shown to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Harassment is where there is unwanted conduct, related to one of the protected characteristics (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity) that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity; or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It does not matter whether or not this effect was 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).
Third-party harassment occurs where an employee is harassed and the harassment is related to a protected characteristic (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity), by third parties such as clients or customers. For an employer to be liable:
  • the harassment must have occurred on at least two previous occasions (although not necessarily by the same harasser or suffering the same type of harassment);
  • it must be aware that the previous harassment has taken place; and
  • it must have failed to take reasonable steps to prevent harassment from happening again.
Victimisation occurs where an employee 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.
Failure to make reasonable adjustments is where a physical feature or a provision, criterion or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with someone who does not have that protected characteristic and the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable the disabled person to overcome the disadvantage.
The procedure
  1. The Company will not discriminate on grounds of sex, trans-gender 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).
  2. If you are disabled or become disabled in the course of your employment you should inform the Company about your disability via your line manager. Your line manager will then arrange to discuss what reasonable adjustments to your job or working conditions or environment might assist you in the performance of your duties. You will also be encouraged to suggest any adjustments that you believe 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 Company to accommodate proposals put forward by you. The Company’s Equal Opportunities for Disabled People Policy applies.
  3. Any member of staff may use the bullying and harassment procedure to complain about discriminatory conduct. If the matter relates to sexual or racial harassment or harassment on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, trans-gender status, religion or belief, or age, then the complaint may be raised directly with the a director. The Company wishes to ensure that staff feel comfortable about raising such complaints. No individual will be penalised for raising such a complaint unless the substance of the complaint is made in bad faith, for example out of malice.