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EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES STATEMENT

Rufus Leonard is an equal opportunity employer.

The Company is committed to being a successful, caring and welcoming place for all employees. We want to create a supportive and inclusive environment where our employees can reach their full potential, without prejudice and discrimination. We are committed to a culture where respect and understanding is fostered and the diversity of people's backgrounds and circumstances will be positively valued.

Equality of opportunity, valuing diversity and compliance with the law is to the benefit of all individuals in our Company as it seeks to develop the skills and abilities of its people. While specific responsibility for eliminating discrimination and providing equality of opportunity lies with managers and supervisors, individuals at all levels have a responsibility to treat others with dignity and respect.

Through this policy and procedure and the training and development of managers and staff, the organisation 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. The Company will also continue to work towards its dedicated goal of encouraging and promoting equality and diversity within the workforce.

The policy aims to achieve equality by removing any potential discrimination in the way that our employees are treated by fellow employees or the Company, including:

  • people with disabilities

  • people of different sexual orientations

  • transgendered and transsexual people

  • people of different races

  • people on the grounds of their sex

  • those of faith and of no faith

  • in relation to their age

  • in relation to their social class or medical condition

  • people who work part-time

  • those who are married or in a civil partnership

  • women who are pregnant, have recently given birth or are breastfeeding.

Discrimination can be either direct or indirect discrimination. Some of the above are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010 and discrimination is prohibited unless there is a legal exception under the Equality Act.

DIRECT DISCRIMINATION

This is where someone is treated less favourably due to one (or more) protected characteristics. It can be intentional or unintentional discrimination. Occasionally the discrimination may occur due to a protected characteristic of another person, so the discrimination may be because of association. An example is an advert for a job that requires ‘men only’ or ‘under 30s only’.

INDIRECT DISCRIMINATION

This is where someone is disadvantaged by an apparently neutral provision, criterion or practice (PCP) that is applied ‘across the board’ or ‘equally across a particular group’. The PCP may have the consequence (usually unintended) of causing a disadvantage, which then actually affects somebody. For example, a PCP relating to clothing or headwear could be applied ‘equally’, but may cause someone with a protected characteristic to be disadvantaged. The PCP could be justified if it is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

VICTIMISATION

This is not the same as the common meaning of victimisation, but is specifically regarding treating someone less favourably because they have complained about or given information about discrimination or harassment, either regarding themselves or someone else.

HARASSMENT

This is part of the Equality Act but is covered in more detail in the Harassment policy.

The Equality Act 2010 applies to how employees treat fellow employees, visitors, suppliers and former employees. The Act also applies to customers/clients.

The Company is committed to equality of opportunity and to providing a service and following practices which are free from unfair and unlawful discrimination.

The aim of this policy is to ensure that no applicant or member of staff receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements which cannot be shown to be relevant to performance. It seeks also to ensure that no person is victimised or subjected to any form of bullying or harassment.

The personal commitment of every employee to this policy and application of its principles are essential to eliminate discrimination and provide equality throughout the Company.

Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all staff.

The HR Manager has particular responsibility for implementing and monitoring the equality and diversity policies and, as part of this process, all personnel policies and procedures are administered with the objective of promoting equality of opportunity and eliminating unfair or unlawful discrimination.

There will be monitoring and reviews of the effectiveness of the equal opportunities policy, including a review of job applicants and the benefits/career progression of existing employees. Comments and suggestions on the policy can be directed to Emily-Faye Duncan, Head of People and Culture.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY RELATING TO DISABILITY

INTRODUCTION

The Company is committed to furthering its obligations under the Equality Act 2010 by affording disabled people with every opportunity to develop, by providing a working environment conducive for disabled people with the relevant skills and qualifications.

Under this policy, a ‘disabled person’ is defined as a person with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on their ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION

The Company actively encourages applications from disabled people. Subject to any health or safety considerations, all vacancies are open to people with suitable qualifications and experience. The Company guarantees an interview to all disabled people who meet the minimum criteria for the vacancy.

The Company guarantees to interview all disabled applicants who meet the minimum criteria for the job vacancy (applicants should identify in their application that they are disabled, so that reasonable adjustments can be made to ensure no applicant is disadvantaged due to their disability).

DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING

To assist employees in becoming aware of the Company’s policies regarding disabled employees, training will be carried out as required.

Equal access to training and development will be afforded to disabled employees.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE EMPLOYEE

All employees are responsible for making themselves aware of the actions they need to take to comply with this policy, together with its implications.

Employees who are, or become, disabled, are encouraged to raise this with their line manager, so the Company can ensure the appropriate support is provided. Reasonable adjustments can be put into place to assist employees.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE COMPANY

The Company’s obligations and responsibilities towards disabled employees include:

  • provision of training on the subject of equal opportunities, covering disabled people in recruitment and selection, training, promotion and contractual entitlements

  • provision of equipment and facilities to support and assist disabled employees in carrying out their duties

  • ensuring that any special needs of disabled employees, arising directly or indirectly because of their work, are met

  • making reasonable adjustments to working arrangements where disadvantages may be caused to disabled employees

  • enduring physical premises and the working environment is safe

Advice to the Board on the high level policy requirements and legislative developments is the responsibility of the [delete as appropriate – HR director/director/managing director].

REGULAR REVIEWS OF ARRANGEMENTS

Reviews of working arrangements and duties will be undertaken to determine if any changes has occurred that require attention. This attention may consist of retraining, adjustments to the premises or revisions to the reasonable adjustments, or other changes the Company needs to make for the provision of assistance as necessary.

The review will be undertaken by the HR Manager or an appropriate member of the People team.

It may be necessary to consider training/retraining or redeployment for a disabled employee if they are unable to continue to carry out their duties.

For employees who become disabled, the Company will consider the necessary reasonable adjustments required for that employee to continue in their role, as far as possible. It may be that suitable alternative employment is available should reasonable adjustments not be appropriate and the Company will make every effort to avoid termination, by providing necessary training and support and considering redeployment.

EVALUATION AND MONITORING

The Company will continuously monitor and evaluate the conditions for disabled employees. This will be the responsibility of the HR Manager.

The report to the board will cover:

  • recruitment and selection process for the staff vacancies advertised

  • state of the Company premises in respect of employees and whether any steps need to be taken in relation to reasonable adjustments if there are features which cause a substantial disadvantage to certain disabled employees (anonymised) or job applicants

  • the above, in relation to the visitors to the premises

  • statistics and information prepared annually on the readiness of the Company

There will be an annual meeting with the Company’s disabled employees to identify any further reasonable adjustments that may need to be made to the working environment to meet the continuing evolving needs of the disabled employees in the Company.

[Optional] Employees may complete an annual questionnaire which covers any disabilities they may have, so that the Company can identify any employees who have disabilities to provide them with reasonable adjustments. The questionnaire may include a self-declaration of disability and the questionnaire is confidential.

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

If an employee wishes to raise any concerns about their circumstances, they may do so informally in the first instance but are free to raise a complaint under the Company’s grievance procedure, so that any concerns can be properly investigated.