As a group, we promote diversity and inclusion and provide our Diversity & Inclusion charter to all employees and portfolio partners to adhere to.
Equal Opportunities Policy
1. We are committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all employees and job applicants. In line with the Equality Act 2010, we aim to create and maintain a working environment in which all individuals are able to make the best use of their skills, free from discrimination or harassment, and in which all decisions are based on merit.
2. No individual is subjected to any less favourable treatment on any discriminatory grounds on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy and maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.
3. No individual is subjected to harassment, whether on discriminatory grounds or otherwise.
4. The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity also apply to the way in which employees treat visitors, clients, customers, suppliers and former employees.
5. All employees have a duty to act in accordance with this policy and treat colleagues with dignity at all times, and not to discriminate against or harass other employees, regardless of their status.
Scope and purpose of the charter
6. This charter applies to all aspects of our relationship with our employees and to relations between employees at all levels. This includes job advertisements, recruitment and selection, training and development, opportunities for promotion, conditions of service, pay and benefits, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and termination of employment.
7. We will take appropriate steps to accommodate the requirements of different religions, cultures, and domestic responsibilities. Please see the following for specific information on our approach to these issues:
Forms of discrimination
7.1 Discrimination by or against an employee is prohibited unless there is a specific legal exemption. Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally.
7.2 Direct discrimination occurs where someone is treated less favourably because of one or more of the protected characteristics set out above. For example, rejecting an applicant on the grounds of their race because they would not "fit in" would be direct discrimination.
7.3 Indirect discrimination occurs where someone is disadvantaged by an unjustified provision, criterion or practice that also puts other people with the same protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage. For example, a requirement to work full time puts women at a particular disadvantage because they generally have greater childcare commitments than men. Such a requirement will need to be objectively justified.
7.4 Harassment related to any of the protected characteristics is prohibited. Harassment is unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.
7.5 Victimisation is also prohibited. This is the less favourable treatment of someone who has complained or given information about discrimination or harassment or supported someone else's complaint.
Recruitment and selection
8. We aim to ensure that no job applicant suffers discrimination because of any of the protected characteristics above. Our recruitment procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. Job selection criteria are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are relevant to the job and are not disproportionate.
8.1 Job advertisements should avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage particular groups from applying.
8.2 We take steps to ensure that our vacancies are advertised to a diverse labour market.
8.3 Job applicants should not be asked about health or disability before a job offer is made, except in the very limited circumstances allowed by law: for example, to check that the applicant could perform an intrinsic part of the job (taking account of any reasonable adjustments), or to see if any adjustments might be needed at an interview because of a disability. Where necessary, job offers can be made conditional on a satisfactory medical check. Health or disability questions may be included in equal opportunities monitoring forms, which must not be used for selection or decision-making purposes.
9. If you are disabled or become disabled, we encourage you to tell us about your condition so that we can consider what reasonable adjustments or support may be appropriate.
Fixed-term employees and agency workers
10. We monitor our use of fixed-term employees and agency workers, and their conditions of service, to ensure that they are being offered appropriate access to benefits, training, promotion and permanent employment opportunities. We will, where relevant, monitor their progress to ensure that they are accessing permanent vacancies.
11. We monitor the conditions of service of part-time employees and their progression to ensure that they are being offered appropriate access to benefits and training and promotion opportunities. We will ensure requests to alter working hours are dealt with appropriately under our Flexible Working Policy.
Breaches of the policy
12. If you believe that you may have been discriminated against you are encouraged to raise the matter through our Grievance Procedure. If you believe that you may have been subject to harassment you are encouraged to raise the matter through our Anti-harassment and Bullying Policy. If you are uncertain which applies or need advice on how to proceed you should speak to your line manager.
12.1 Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the relevant procedure. Staff who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. False allegations which are found to have been made in bad faith will, however, be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.
12.2 Any employee who is found to have committed an act of discrimination or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action. Such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and, as such, may result in summary dismissal. We take a strict approach to serious breaches of this policy.