1. Policy Statement
Kidwells Law Solicitors Ltd. (“the Company”) is committed to achieving a working environment which provides equality of opportunity and freedom from unlawful discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation. This Policy aims to remove unfair and discriminatory practices within the Company and to encourage full contribution from its diverse community. The Company is committed to actively opposing all forms of discrimination.
The Company also aims to provide a service that does not discriminate against its clients and customers in the means by which they can access the services and goods supplied by the Company. The Company believes that all employees and clients are entitled to be treated with respect and dignity.
Any and all personal data used in connection with this Policy shall be collected, held, and processed in accordance with the Company’s [Employee] Data Protection Policy.
2. Objectives of this Policy
- To prevent, reduce and stop all forms of unlawful discrimination in line with the Equality Act 2010.
- To ensure that recruitment, promotion, training, development, assessment, benefits, pay, terms and conditions of employment, redundancy and dismissals are determined on the basis of capability, qualifications, experience, skills and productivity.
3. Definition of Discrimination
Discrimination is unequal or differential treatment which leads to one person being treated more or less favourably than others are, or would be, treated in the same or similar circumstances on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation. Discrimination may be direct or indirect, and includes discrimination by perception and association.
4. Types of Discrimination
4.1 Direct Discrimination
This occurs when a person or a policy intentionally treats a person less favourably than another on the grounds of race, sex, pregnancy and maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation.
4.2 Indirect Discrimination
This is the application of a policy, criterion or practice which the employer applies to all employees but which is such that:
- It is it detrimental to a considerably larger proportion of people from the group that the person the employer is applying it to represents;
- The employer cannot justify the need for the application of the policy on a neutral basis; and
- The person to whom the employer is applying it suffers detriment from the application of the policy.
Example: A requirement that all employees must be 6ft tall if that requirement is not justified by the position would indirectly discriminate against employees with an oriental ethnic origin, as they are less likely to be able to fulfil this requirement.
This occurs when a person is subjected to unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating their dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.
This occurs when a person is treated less favourably because they have bought or intend to bring proceedings or they have given or intend to give evidence.
5. Unlawful Reasons for Discrimination
It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably on the grounds of sex, marital status, civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, gender reassignment or transgender status. This applies to men, women and those undergoing or intending to undergo gender reassignment. Sexual harassment of men and women can be found to constitute sex discrimination.
Example: Asking a woman during an interview if she is planning to have any (more) children constitutes discrimination on the ground of gender.
It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their age. This applies to people of all ages. This does not currently apply to the calculation of redundancy payments.
It is not permissible to treat a disabled person less favourably than a non-disabled person. Reasonable adjustments must be made to give the disabled person as much access to any services and ability to be employed, trained, or promoted as a non-disabled person.
It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their race, the colour of their skin, their nationality or their ethnic origin.
5.5 Sexual Orientation
It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their sexual orientation. For example, an employer cannot refuse to employ a person because s/he is homosexual, heterosexual or bisexual.
5.6 Religion or Belief
It is not permissible to treat a person less favourably because of their religious beliefs or their religion or their lack of any religion or belief.
6. Positive Action in Recruitment
Under the Equality Act 2010, positive action in recruitment and promotion applies as of 6 April 2011. ‘Positive action’ means the steps that the Company can take to encourage people from groups with different needs or with a past record of disadvantage or low participation, to apply for positions within the Company.
If the Company chooses to utilise positive action in recruitment, this will not be used to treat people with a protected characteristic more favourably, it will be used only in tie-break situations, when there are two candidates of equal merit applying for the same position.
7. Reasonable Adjustments
The Company has a duty to make reasonable adjustments to facilitate the employment of a disabled person. These may include:
- Making adjustments to premises;
- Re-allocating some or all of a disabled employee’s duties;
- Transferring a disabled employee to a role better suited to their disability;
- Relocating a disabled employee to a more suitable office;
- Giving a disabled employee time off work for medical treatment or rehabilitation;
- Providing training or mentoring for a disabled employee;
- Supplying or modifying equipment, instruction and training manuals for disabled employees; or
- Any other adjustments that the Company considers reasonable and necessary provided such adjustments are within the financial means of the Company.
If an employee has a disability and feels that any such adjustments could be made by the Company, they should contact the Manging Director.
8. Employment and Training
As an employer, the Practice will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not discriminate unjustifiably against them. This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, access to promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation and any other employment related activities
9. Recruitment and Selection
This Practice recognises the benefits of having a diverse workforce and will take steps to ensure that:
a) It endeavours to recruit from the widest pool of qualified candidates possible.
b) Employment opportunities are open and accessible to all on the basis of their individual qualities and personal merit.
c) Where appropriate, positive action measures are taken to attract applications from all sections of society and especially from those groups which are under-represented in the workforce.
d) Selection criteria and processes do not discriminate unjustifiably on the grounds of disability, gender, age, marital status, race, racial group, colour, ethnic or national origin, nationality, religion or belief, or sexual orientation, or family or care responsibilities, other than in those instances where the Practice is exercising permitted positive action.
e) Wherever appropriate and necessary, lawful exemptions (genuine occupational requirements) will be used to recruit suitable staff to meet the special needs of particular groups.
f) All recruitment agencies acting for the Practice are aware of its requirement not to discriminate and to act accordingly.
g) Assumptions about immigration status will not be made based on appearance or apparent nationality. All prospective employees, regardless of nationality, must be able to produce original documents (such as a passport) before employment starts, to satisfy current immigration legislation. The list of acceptable documents is available from the UK Border Agency.
10. Promotion and Career Development
Promotion within the Practice (including to partners) will be made without reference to any of the forbidden grounds and will be based solely on merit.
The selection criteria and processes for recruitment and promotion will be kept under review to ensure that there is no unjustifiably discriminatory impact on any particular group.
Whilst positive action measures may be taken in accordance with the relevant anti-discrimination legislation to encourage under-represented groups to apply for promotion opportunities, recruitment or promotion to all jobs will be based solely on merit.
All employees will have equal access to training and other career development opportunities appropriate to their experience and abilities. However, the Practice will take appropriate positive action measures (as detailed above) to provide special training and support for groups which are under- represented in the workforce and encourage them to take up training and career development opportunities
11. Responsibility for the Implementation of this Policy
All employees and subcontractors of the Company are required to act in a way that does not subject any other employees or clients to direct or indirect discrimination, harassment or victimisation on the grounds of their race, sex, pregnancy or maternity, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, disability, religion or beliefs, age or sexual orientation.
The co-operation of all employees is essential for the success of this Policy. Senior employees are expected to follow this Policy and to try to ensure that all employees, subcontractors and agents do the same.
Employees may be held independently and individually liable for their discriminatory acts by the Company and in some circumstances an Employment Tribunal may order them to pay compensation to the person who has suffered as a result of discriminatory acts.
The Company takes responsibility for achieving the objectives of this Policy, and endeavours to ensure compliance with relevant Legislation and Codes of Practice.
12. Acting on Discriminatory Behaviour
In the event that an employee is the subject or perpetrator of, or witness to, discriminatory behaviour, please refer to the <<company handbook on disciplinary and grievance procedures>>.
13. Advice and Support on Discrimination:
Equality and Human Rights Commission
The Arndale Centre
2-6 Salisbury Square
Block 1, Spur D, Government Buildings
St Agnes Road
151 West George Street
Helpline Telephone Number:
Phone: 0808 800 0082
Textphone: 0808 800 0084
Citizens Advice Bureau
3rd Floor North
200 Aldersgate Street
Community Legal Services Direct
Telephone: 0845 345 4 345
14. Compliance, monitoring and review
We will monitor the physical features of our premises to consider whether they place disabled workers, job applicants or clients at a substantial disadvantage compared to other staff. Where reasonable, we will take steps to improve access for disabled staff and clients.
The policy will be monitored and reviewed in a manner proportionate to the size and nature of the Practice on a regular basis (and in any event at least annually) to measure its progress and judge its effectiveness. In particular, the Practice will, as appropriate, monitor and record using the Equality & Diversity Monitoring form
Reporting will include but is not limited to:
a) The gender and ethnic composition of the workforce and partners as well as the number of disabled staff, partners, members at different levels of the organisation.
b) The ethnicity, gender and disability of all applicants, short-listed applicants and successful applicants for jobs and training contracts.
c) The ethnicity, gender and disability of all applicants for promotion (including to partnership) and training opportunities and details of whether they were successful.
d) Where it is possible to do so, and where doing so will not cause offence or discomfort to those whom it is intended to protect, the sexual orientation and religion or belief of all partners and staff will be monitored so as to ensure that they are not being discriminated against in terms of the opportunities or benefits available to them. Practices should, however, be aware that partners and staff may not choose to disclose their sexual orientation or religion or belief and that care should be taken to avoid inadvertent discrimination in such cases.
e) The number and outcome of complaints of discrimination made by staff, barristers, clients and other third parties.
f) The disciplinary action (if any) taken against employees by race, gender, age and disability.
This information will be used to review the progress and impact of the Equality Opportunites and Diversity Policy. Any changes required will be made and implemented.
The Managing Director will maintain all records relevant to the above.
15. The Extent of the Policy
- The Company seeks to apply this Policy in the recruitment, selection, training, appraisal, development and promotion of all employees. The Company offers services in a fashion that complies with the spirit of this Policy.
- This Policy does not form a part of any employment contract with any employee and its contents are not to be regarded by any person as implied, collateral or express terms to any contract made with the Company.
- The Company reserves the right to amend and update this Policy at any time.