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EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES POLICY


1. POLICY STATEMENT


2. DEFINITION


3. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTING THIS POLICY


4. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION


5. TRAINING AND PROMOTION


6. TERMS & CONDITIONS OF SERVICE


7. FIXED TERM, AGENCY AND TEMPORARY WORKERS


8. PART-TIME WORKERS


9. TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT


10. DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION


11. BREACHES OF THE POLICY


12. MONITORING


POLICY STATEMENT


1.1 Direct Gardens declares itself to be an Equal Opportunity employer. This Equal Opportunities Policy contains positive measures designed to prevent in so far as possible not only overt acts of discrimination but also conditions and requirements which might have an indirectly discriminatory, effect, albeit unintentional, where that effect cannot be justified as necessary for operational purposes. 

1.2 The Policy is intended to aid the development of good employment practices and to promote equality of opportunity for all employees, workers and job applicants irrespective of their gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability or age, pregnancy or trade union membership or the fact that they are a part-time worker or a fixed-term employee. This principle of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity applies equally to the treatment of visitors, clients, customers and suppliers by members of our workforce (and vice versa) and also, in some circumstances, ex-employees.

1.3 This Policy applies to Direct Gardensemployees, whether permanent, temporary, casual, and part-time or on fixed-term contracts, to ex-employees, to job applicants and to individuals such as agency staff and consultants who are not employees but who work atDirect Gardens. 


1.4  Equal opportunity for all can be ensured only through acceptance by all workers that the full utilisation of the talents and resources of the entire workforce is important, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability or age, pregnancy or trade union

membership or part-time worker or fixed-term status. 

1.5 All workers have a duty to act in accordance with this Policy, and therefore to treat colleagues with dignity at all times, and not to discriminate against or harass other members of staff or any visitors, clients, customers or suppliers. In some situations Direct Gardens may be at risk of being held responsible for the acts of individual members of staff and will not therefore tolerate any discriminatory practices or behaviour. 

1.6 This Policy is for guidance only and does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment. This Policy will be communicated to all workers and will be available from Mr Dave McKay (Project Manager).


1.7 All workers will be trained on their rights and responsibilities under the Policy. No worker must be in any doubt as to what constitutes acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at Direct Gardens.


2. DEFINITION

2.1 Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally. 

2.2 Direct discrimination occurs where someone is treated less favourably (i.e. is put at a disadvantage) on the grounds of gender, sexual orientation (perceived or actual), marital or civil partner status, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability or age, pregnancy or trade union membership or part-time or fixed-term status.


2.3 Indirect discrimination occurs where an unjustified provision, criterion or practice is applied to all (or would be applied to all)and as a consequence puts a worker at a particular disadvantage because of one of the grounds referred to in paragraph 2.2 (and would similarly put all members of that particular group at a disadvantage). If the provision, criterion or practice cannot be objectively justified for a reason unconnected with one of the grounds listed in paragraph 2.2, it would be indirectly discriminatory.

2.4 Discrimination also includes victimisation (less favourable treatment because of action took to assert legal rights against discrimination or to help a colleague in that regard) and harassment (see the Direct Gardens’bullying and Harassment Policy).


3. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR IMPLEMENTING THIS POLICY


All members of staff are responsible for the success of this policy and must ensure that they familiarise themselves with the Policy and act in accordance with its aims and objectives. To ease the Project Manager will be given training on equal opportunities awareness and equal opportunities recruitment and selection best practice. If you are involved in management or recruitment, or if you have any questions about the content or application of this Policy, you should contact the Project Manager to request training.



3.1 The Responsibilities of Direct Gardens
The Project Manager has the overall responsibility for the effective introduction and operation of this Policy and for ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory framework prohibiting discrimination. Project Managermust ensure that the Policy is properly carried out, that all workers receive proper guidance and training on the Policy, that adequate records in respect of this Policy are established and maintained, that interviewing techniques, short listing methods and selection decisions are monitored, that reports are undertaken in respect of the operation of the Policy and that any actions identified as a result are completed as necessary without delay. Project Manageris also responsible for regularly reviewing all of Direct Gardens procedures and policies to ensure continuing compliance with current employment legislation and relevant Codes of Practice prohibiting discrimination.


3.2 The Responsibilities of the Manager and Supervisory Staff

The Project Managerand Supervisory staff must: Set an appropriate standard of behaviour by leading by example; Promote the aims and objectives of Direct Gardenswith regard to equal opportunities; Ensure that all workers are aware of their responsibilities under the terms of this Policy and adhere to those responsibilities; Ensure grievances and disciplinary issues  in a fair and consistent manner and that all related decisions are made on a non-discriminatory basis; and Ensure that proper records of all employment decisions are maintained, and that reviews are carried out of employment practices.


Further, this the Project Managerwho are responsible for short-listing, interviewing and selecting candidates as part of the recruitment process must at all times adhere to the requirements of paragraph 4 of this Policy.


The Responsibility of All Workers

Good working relations and fair employment practices depend on the attitudes and actions of all workers, from those at the most junior levels of Direct Gardensto those in the most senior positions. Direct Gardensis fully committed to building an organisation that makes full use of the talents, skills, experience and different cultural perspectives available, and where people feel they are respected, valued and can achieve their potential. 

In particular, workers: are required to co-operate with measures introduced by Direct Gardensunder the principle of equality of opportunity and non-discrimination; must not themselves unlawfully discriminate against other workers, visitors, clients, customers and suppliers, either directly or indirectly, on account of one of the grounds listed at paragraph 2.2 e.g., as supervisors or managers or persons responsible for selection decisions in recruitment, promotion, transfer, training, etc.; must not induce or attempt to induce other workers or managers to practice discrimination; must not victimise or attempt to victimise individuals on the grounds that they have complained or taken action to assert legal rights against discrimination (or helped a colleague to do so);must not harass, abuse or intimidate other workers, visitors, clients, customers and suppliers on account of one of the grounds listed in paragraph 2.2 e.g., in attempts to discourage a worker from continuing their employment; should inform the Project Manager if they suspect that discrimination is taking place in the workplace, e.g., in employment decisions.




4. RECRUITMENT AND SELECTION


4.1 Direct Gardens aims to ensure that no job applicant receives less favourable treatment on any of the unlawful grounds listed in paragraph 2.2. Recruitment procedures will be reviewed regularly to ensure that individual is treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and that sufficiently diverse sector of the community are reached by job advertisements. Advertisements will not be confined to publications that exclude or disproportionately reduce the numbers of applicants of a particular group.


4.2 Advertisements and job descriptions will give as much clear and accurate information as necessary to enable applicants to assess their suitability for the post. Person specifications will only include requirements that are necessary and justifiable for that particular role. Selection criteria which have the effect of restricting potential applicants on one or more of the grounds listed in paragraph 2.2 will be excluded unless they can be objectively justified on non-discriminatory grounds as being essential for the effective performance of the job.


4.3 Application forms will not be used as a test of literacy where this is not a requirement of the job.

4.4 All interviews will be conducted objectively and will be for the purpose of assessing the candidate’s suitability for the post and their ability to undertake the duties outlined in the job description. Any selection tests will relate solely to the job’s requirements.


4.5 Managers responsible for short-listing, interviewing and selecting candidates must:

Apply selection criteria which do not discriminate;

be aware of the way in which prejudice can affect the way that an organisation functions and also the impact that generalisations about certain groups and bias in day-to-day operations can haveon an individual’s prospects in obtaining work, promotion, recognition and respect; and be awareof the possible misunderstanding that can occur in interviews between persons of different cultural backgrounds.


4.6 Where possible, short-listing and interviewing should not be done by one person alone but should at least be checked at a more senior level.

4.7 Vacancies will be given full internal circulation to staff that are likely to possess appropriate qualifications or have relevant experience.

4.8 Operational policies and procedures will be periodically reviewed to ensure that individual are selected, promoted and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and that related decisions are not tainted by personal prejudice or discrimination.


5. TRAINING AND PROMOTION


5.1 Direct Gardens will not discriminate in the provision of training courses or training opportunities on one or more of the unlawful grounds listed in paragraph 2.2. The selection criteria applied in respect of allocating training opportunities to workers will be regularly reviewed to ensure that they are not directly or indirectly discriminatory on one or more of the unlawful grounds listed in paragraph 2.2. All promotion decisions will be made on the basis of merit. 


5.2 Appropriate training shall be provided to enable workers to perform their jobs effectively. All workers will be provided with appropriate access to training to enable them to progress at Direct Gardens. Staff responsible for selecting employees for training, whether it is induction, promotion, or skills training, should be instructed not to discriminate on one or more of the unlawful grounds listed in paragraph 2.2.


5.3 Staff involved in short listing, interviewing and selecting candidates for recruitment  training  promotion opportunities will be trained to ensure that selection is made on an objective basis and that all decisions made are non-discriminatory. 

5.4 All key personnel involved in management and recruitment will be provided with training on the relevant statutory framework, this Policy, their own personal liability under the law and the nature of discrimination in general.



6. TERMS & CONDITIONS OF SERVICE


6.1 Direct Gardens will not discriminate in the provision of access to general staff facilities and benefits (including pay). Direct Gardens’ conditions of service, benefits and facilities will be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are available to all workers who should have access to them and that there are no unlawful obstacles in gaining access them.


7. FIXED TERM, AGENCY AND TEMPORARY WORKERS


7.1 Direct Gardens will monitor the use of agency and fixed-term workers and their conditions of service, to ensure that they are being offered appropriate access to benefits, training, promotion and permanent employment opportunities.


8. PART-TIME WORKERS

8.1 Direct Gardens will monitor the conditions of service of part-time workers and their progression within Direct Gardens to ensure that they are being offered appropriate access to benefits and training and promotion opportunities. Direct Gardens will also ensure that requests to alter working hours appropriately.


9. TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT


9.1 Direct Gardens will monitor redundancy criteria and procedures to ensure that they are fair and objective and do not directly or indirectly discriminate.

9.2 Direct Gardens will ensure that disciplinary procedures are carried out  and uniformly for all workers, whether they result in the giving of disciplinary warnings, dismissal or other disciplinary action.






10. DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION


10.1 If you are disabled, or become disabled in the course of your employment with Direct Gardens, you are encouraged to tell Direct Gardens about your condition. This is to enable Direct Gardens to support you as much as possible. You may also wish to advise your line manager of any reasonable adjustments to your working conditions or the duties of your job which you consider to be necessary, or which would help you in the performance of your duties. Your line manager may wish to consult with you and with your medical advisor(s) about possible reasonable adjustments. Careful consideration will be given to any such proposals and they will be accommodated where possible, reasonable and proportionate to the needs of your job. Nevertheless, there may be circumstances where it will not be reasonable for Direct Gardens to accommodate the suggested adjustments and Direct Gardens will ensure that you are provided with information as to the basis for a decision not to make adjustments. 

10.2 Where possible and proportionate Direct Gardens will take steps to improve access for disabled workers and service users.


11. BREACHES OF THE POLICY


11.1 If you believe that you may have been disadvantaged on any of the unlawful grounds listed at paragraph 2.2 you are encouraged to raise the matter through Direct Gardens’ grievance procedure. If you believe that you may have been harassed on any of the unlawful grounds listed at paragraph 2.2. You are encouraged to raise the matter through Direct Gardens’ Bullying and Harassment Policy. Allegations regarding potential breaches of this Policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the relevant procedure. Workers who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. False allegations of a breach in this Policy which are found to have been made in bad faith will however underDirect Gardens’ disciplinary policy. 

11.2 If after investigation you are proven to have discriminated against or harassed any other worker, visitor, client, customer or supplier on one of the grounds of sex, marital status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, race, disability or age or otherwise act in breach of this Policy, youwill be subject to disciplinary action. In serious cases such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and as such may result in summary dismissal. Direct Gardens will always take a strict approach to serious breaches of this Policy. 

11.3 Direct Gardens will not ignore or treat lightly grievances from members of particular disadvantaged groups on the assumption that they are over-sensitive about discrimination.


12. MONITORING


12.1 Direct Gardens will periodically monitor and review the effectiveness of this policy to ensure that Direct Gardens continues to work within legislative requirements as well as promoting best practice in respect of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity.



12.2 The monitoring process will allow analysis of Direct Gardens’ employment practices and will include:

A review of selection criteria and procedures, including qualifications required tests and methodsof short-listing, interviewing and recruitment; and an analysis of recruitment, training and promotional records showing the essential details of candidates, source of application, decisions reached and reasons for these decisions.


12.3 To ease this process, Direct Gardens will maintain records of the sex, marital status, disablement and ethnic origin of all new employees and job applicants. Such records will be solely for the purpose of monitoring Equal Opportunity and the data necessary obtained as part of the normal manpower information system. Details of selection exercises including reasons for appointment/rejection will be recorded and retained for at least twelve months. Ongoing

monitoring and regular analysis of the data provide the basis for taking appropriate steps to monitoring and regular analysis of the data provide the basis for taking appropriate steps to eliminate unlawful direct and indirect discrimination and implement this Policy.


Last reviewed 27th November 2014





  

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