Equality & Diversity

1.0 Introduction 

Tyne Housing and Ouseburn Farm Charity (the Company) are committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging diversity amongst our workforce.

Our objective is to create a working environment in which there is no unlawful discrimination and all decisions are based on merit.

We will work towards a position where our workforce reflects the composition of the communities within which we work,  where recruitment, retention and advancement is on merit and job competencies and where diversity is valued.

This policy has been agreed with senior management and has the full support of our board of directors.

2.0 Status of this policy

This policy does not give contractual rights to individual employees. The company reserves the right to alter any of its terms at any time, although we will notify you in writing of any changes.

3.0 Eligibility

This policy applies to all employees, workers, agency workers, volunteers, contractors and job applicants.

4.0 Responsibility for this policy

The Chief Executive is responsible for this policy.

5.0 What is discrimination?

You are protected under the Equality Act 2010 and discrimination is unlawful when it takes place on one of the following grounds, the ‘protected characteristics’:
·           age
·           disability
·           gender re-assignment
·           marriage and civil partnership
·           pregnancy and maternity
·           race
·           religion or belief
·           sex
·           sexual orientation

Discrimination can take a number of forms:

• Direct discrimination is when someone is treated worse than someone else because of a protected characteristic. For example, it would be direct discrimination if a manager excludes an employee from a training course because he or she is gay.

• It is also direct discrimination when someone is treated worse than someone else because they associate with someone with a protected characteristic or because they are perceived to have a protected characteristic.  For example, it would be direct discrimination if an employee ostracised a colleague because the colleague has a gay flatmate or because he thinks the colleague is gay.

• Indirect discrimination is when an apparently neutral practice or requirement disproportionately disadvantages one group and cannot be justified by the needs of the business. For example, imposing a requirement that job applicants must speak fluent English disproportionately disadvantages non-English groups and would be unlawful unless it could be justified on genuine business grounds.

• It is also discrimination when a disabled person is treated unfavourably because of something connected to their disability and this cannot be justified by the needs of the business or when the business fails to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled person.

6.0 Our responsibilities and approach

We aim to avoid discrimination in all aspects of employment and recruitment. Our approach to different aspects of employment and recruitment is set out below.

7.0 Recruitment and selection

We aim to ensure that job requirements and job selection criteria are clear and based only on what is required to get the job done effectively.  We will avoid making stereotypical assumptions based on protected characteristics about who is able to do a particular job.

We aim to ensure that no job applicant is placed at a disadvantage by practices or requirements which disproportionately disadvantage protected groups and which are not justified by the demands of the job.

For all jobs, we will draw up a clear and accurate job description and person specification to ensure that we remain focussed on what the job involves and the skills, experience and qualifications which are relevant and necessary to do the job.  If a job can be done flexibly, we aim to say so in the job description. Shortlisting for an interview will be done by two managers.  Interview panels will have at least two people to ensure that we avoid unintentional bias.

We will not ask for personal or irrelevant information on application forms or in interviews.  We will focus instead on whether someone has the relevant skills, qualities and experience to do the job.

Please see the Code of Practice on the Recruitment and Selection of Employees for more detailed information on the recruitment process.

8.0 Promotion, training and appraisals

Promotion and training decisions will be made on the basis of merit. We will not unlawfully discriminate against any employee in making promotion or training decisions. We believe all employees should have an equal opportunity to progress and develop.

Unless a post has been ring fenced, for example in redundancy or TUPE situations,  we will advertise promotion and transfer opportunities widely, including deputising opportunities and secondments which could lead to permanent promotion. We will try to ensure that training and development opportunities are made known to all relevant employees.

Training needs will be identified through regular one to one meetings and appraisal discussions.

We have a formal appraisal system which helps us to ensure that employees are being assessed fairly on the basis of job performance and are not being discriminated against. We will conduct appraisals objectively and measure performance in a transparent and objective way, without prejudice or bias.

9.0 Positive action

For some recruitment and promotion exercises, we may take positive action to address under-representation in our workforce by encouraging applications from people from certain under-represented groups.  For example, we may state on advertisements that we particularly welcome applications from certain groups, we may target our advertising towards particular groups, we might hold open days, work shadowing opportunities targeted at particular groups or we might provide training for particular groups to prepare them for promotion.  However, we will ultimately make recruitment and promotion decisions on merit and not on the basis of protected characteristics.

10.0 Working conditions and terms of employment

We will try to accommodate cultural or religious practices such as prayer requirements where we reasonably can.

We will ensure that our terms of employment, benefits, facilities and policies are free from unlawful discrimination.

We will ensure that decisions made under our disciplinary, grievance performance management and attendance management policies are carried out fairly and without discrimination.

We will ensure that our pay systems are fair and free from discrimination.

11.0 Termination of employment

We will ensure that we avoid discrimination in making decisions about dismissal or redundancy.  We wil always make the post redundant and not the person.

We will encourage leavers to give feedback about their employment in exit questionnaires.

12.0 Disabled employees

We will make adjustments to accommodate disabled employees where possible and reasonable. If you think you may have a disability, you are encouraged to tell the company about this so that we can explore what adjustments might be appropriate.

13.0 Training on equalities

We train all our employees on understanding and avoiding discrimination.

14.0 Monitoring

We will ask job applicants and employees for information about some of their protected characteristics. We do this to help us to:

• establish whether our equality policy is effective in practice;
• analyse the effect of other policies and practices on different groups;
• highlight possible inequalities and where appropriate investigate their underlying causes; and
• take action where we think it is needed to address problems or reduce disparities.

We collect this information on a no name basis and we will use it only for monitoring purposes and not for any other purpose. We will protect the confidentiality of the information given to us and will handle it in accordance with our obligations under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Some examples of the type of monitoring we may carry out are as follows:

• how many people with particular characteristics apply for each job, are shortlisted and recruited including promotions and internal transfers

• how many people in the workforce have a particular protected characteristic and the levels within the organisation that they are employed at, their length of service and their resignation rates and patterns

• the protected characteristics of staff attending training

• the protected characteristics of employees using the grievance or bullying and harassment procedures

• the protected characteristics of employees being disciplined and dismissed.

15.0 Your rights and responsibilities

You have the right not to experience unlawful discrimination in our workplace.  You also have a responsibility to understand this policy and help us to implement it.

All employees, workers, agency workers and contractors have a duty not to discriminate against each other and not to help anyone else do so.

16.0 Our relationships with residents/service users, visitors, suppliers and contractors

You must not discriminate against any of our residents or service users, visitors, suppliers or contractors. Equally, we expect our residents and service users, visitors, suppliers or contractors not to discriminate against you and we will take appropriate action against any resident or service user, visitor, supplier or contractor found to have done so.

17.0 What to do if you have been discriminated against

If you believe you may have been discriminated against, please tell us. You can speak informally with your line manager, Head of service or the Deputy Chief Executive If you want to make a more formal complaint, you are encouraged to raise the matter through our grievance procedure.

If you believe there has been any bullying or harassment, then you should raise the matter through our Dignity at Work Procedure.

Allegations of potential breaches of this policy will be treated seriously. Employees and contractors who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. However, false allegations of a breach of this policy which are found to have been made in bad faith will be dealt with under our disciplinary procedure.

18.0 What will happen if you act in a discriminatory way?

If, after investigation, we decide that you have acted in breach of this policy, you may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.  This applies to the most senior levels of management as well as to all other employees.

19.0 Data protection

For information about our processing of personal data under this policy, including details of our legal grounds for doing so, how long we retain such personal data, who your personal data is shared with, your rights under data protection law and who you should contact if you have any concerns, please see our employee privacy notice, which can be accessed via the shared drive or a copy obtained from the Admin Officer.

20.0 Policy review and promotion

We will promote and publicise our equality policy as widely as possible using our shared drive and induction packs.

We will review this policy every three years unless legislation or best practice changes.