Dignity at Work Policy
Equality and Diversity Policy Statement
We are an equal opportunities employer and are fully committed to treating all our employees and job applicants fairly and equally. The aim is for our workforce to be truly representative of all areas of society and for our people to feel respected and able to give their best.
We strive to create an environment that is free of discrimination, celebrates and values diversity and is welcoming to employees, customers, clients and other third-parties.
Responsibility for the Equality and Diversity Policy
Our Leadership Team has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy and for ensuring compliance with the relevant statutory framework.
The Leadership Team has delegated day-to-day responsibility for operating the policy and ensuring its maintenance and review to the HR Coordinator.
The Human Resources Coordinator has the overall responsibility for the maintenance and operation of this policy in line with legislation and best practice, along with ensuring that the equality and diversity training takes place.
Employees have a personal responsibility to ensure the fair application of this policy, which extends to the treatment of job applicants, employees (including former employees), customers, clients, suppliers and visitors along with ensuring that they complete the equality and diversity training.
Equality and Diversity Policy Principles
This policy applies to all of our employees along with agency workers, consultants, contractors and the self-employed.
This policy sets out our expectations and standards towards equality and diversity and all those who this policy is applicable to are expected to fully comply with the content.
We are committed to valuing, recognising and respecting difference within our employees, workers, applicants and customers, whether in race, nationality, ethnicity, pregnancy (previous or future) and maternity, marriage or civil partnership status, gender, sex or sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, age or disability (past or present). These are all classed as protected characteristics and we have a zero-tolerance approach to all these forms of discrimination.
The aims of the policy are to:
- Provide equality, fairness and respect for all in employment, whether temporary, part or full time or on a fixed term contract;
- Not unlawfully discriminate as a result of the Equality Act 2010 with regards to protected characteristics;
- Eliminate potential unlawful discrimination practices;
- Promote positive measures to prevent discrimination occurring such as awareness initiatives and equality and diversity training;
- Set standards and monitor conduct to support our reputation and image as an employer and business of choice.
There are different kinds of discrimination that are prohibited and that everyone should be aware of:
- Direct discrimination is treating someone less favourably because of a protected characteristic. An example of this is paying someone less because of their sex or because they belong to a particular racial group. ‘Because’ is very wide and includes less favourable treatment based on a perception by another person, for example that the person is gay or disabled, whether this perception is correct. It also includes less favourable treatment because someone is associated with another person who has the protected characteristic.
- Indirect discrimination is treating people in the same way but in a way that adversely affects those with a protected characteristic. An example of this is telling everyone that they have to work late at night. Although this applies to everyone, it will adversely affect those who have childcare responsibilities.
Some examples of actions which we consider to be in breach of this policy and not acceptable are:
- Displaying flags or emblems (including on clothing, jewellery or tattoos);
- Displaying posters or graffiti or circulating literature that is liable to cause offence;
- Displaying ‘pin ups’ pornography, inflammatory or abusive literature or graffiti;
- Banter or jokes or other kinds of remarks that are liable to cause offence because they are about a protected characteristic;
- Making comments, whether positive or negative, about personal characteristics and clothing which are unconnected with work;
- Innuendo or lewd comments or gestures;
- Touching colleagues or customers other than when this approach is within a business context. For example, shaking hands with someone is acceptable; patting, stroking, pinching or hitting someone is not acceptable;
- Putting pressure on someone for sexual favours;
- Wearing football or sports shirts.
This list is not exhaustive, and we ask everyone to exercise caution and seek advice if they are unsure.
Discrimination by associated comes about when someone is treated unfavourably on the basis of another person’s protected characteristic. This can be when an individual is not employed or overlooked for promotion or benefits because someone they are related to or associated with has a protected characteristic. An example would be if a parent of a disabled child is not considered for a promotion due to the child’s disability.
Discrimination by perception is when someone is treated unfavourably because others believe that they have a protected characteristic even though they do not, it is perceived. An example would be an applicant for a job is refused to progress due to their name sounding like a particular sex.
The principles set out within this policy apply to the workplace and outside of the workplace in a work-related context. This includes business trips, customer and supplier events or work-related social events.
Everyone should be aware that if they behave inappropriately at work and are in breach of this policy, that they may have a personal liability in the event of a complaint.
We aim to avoid discrimination in all aspects of employment including:
- Recruitment and selection;
- Pay and benefits;
- Career development;
- Promotion and moving to other roles;
- Time off;
- Dismissal including redundancy;
- References and leaving our company.
No employee or potential employee will be disadvantaged by any conditions of employment that cannot be justified as necessary on operational grounds.
We aim to encourage, value and manage diversity and we are committed to equality for all of our people.
Rights and Responsibilities
You have the right not to experience discrimination in the work place. You also have a responsibility to understand and adhere to this policy.
If you witness a colleague being subject to unfair treatment linked to a protected characteristic, then the matter should be reported as this may potentially be seen as approving inappropriate conduct.
If you feel able to, speak with the individual who behaved inappropriately and tell them that what they have done is unacceptable and not in line with this policy. Alternatively, you could speak with a member of the HR team or your Line Manager.
Recruitment, Selection, Promotion and Career Development
We are committed to applying our equal opportunities policy at all stages of our recruitment process.
We will appoint, train, develop, reward and promote on the basis of merit and ability. We will recruit the most suitable candidate for any position that we have, and the recruitment will be free from discrimination.
All roles that we recruit into will be accompanied by a full job description and all roles will be appropriately publicised to the wider range of candidates.
Job advertisements will not involve stereotyping and will be free of language that is discouraging to particular groups of individuals.
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.
Health related questions will not be asked of our candidates unless it is for one of the following reasons:
- Reasonable adjustments need to be made to the selection process. For example, if a candidate is invited to an interview;
- A candidate cannot carry out a function that is intrinsic to the job;
- For monitoring purposes.
We are committed to providing opportunities for advancement of our employees where possible. Any internal vacancies will be published to employees in such a way that they do not restrict applications from employees who have a protected characteristic.
The selection process will be carried out consistently for all jobs at all levels and all applications will be processed in the same way. Interview questions will be relevant to the job and no assumptions will be made of personal circumstances or future plans.
Selection criteria requiring face-to-face interviews will be carried out by at least two suitably skilled employees.
We are required by law to ensure that all our people are entitled to work within the United Kingdom and all candidates will be asked to provide original documents.
Short listing will be based on the skills, experience and knowledge necessary to be able to do the job.
Decisions regarding promotion opportunities will be based on skills, knowledge, ability and competence.
Equal opportunities information gathered at the commencement of employment will be kept strictly confidential and will be used for management purposes only.
We may take positive action within recruitment to address under-representation within our workforce by encouraging applications from people from under-represented groups. However, ultimately, we will recruit and promote based on merit and not based on protected characteristics.
Policy Promotion and Training
We will make equality and diversity training available to all employees and third parties who will perform work on behalf of our company.
This training is considered mandatory and must be completed. Should an employee refuse, action may be taken. Should a third party (contractor) refuse, their contract may be revoked.
From time to time, the HR Coordinator may send emails or other information with regards to equality and diversity and we would encourage everyone to read this information and speak to a Line Manager if there are any questions.
Terms and Conditions of Employment and Policy
Terms and conditions of employment, policies, benefits and services will be reviewed from time to time to ensure that they comply with this policy.
We are committed to equal pay in employment. We believe our employees should receive equal pay for like-for-like work. In order to achieve this, we will endeavour to maintain a pay system that is free from bias and based on objective criteria.
We will try and accommodate cultural and religious practices where we are able to. If you would like to discuss how we can accommodate your needs, please speak to your line manager of a member of the HR team.
We will ensure that any decisions that are made under the disciplinary, grievance, performance management policies are carried out fairly and without discrimination.
Action will be taken under our disciplinary policy against any employee who is found to have committed an act of improper or unlawful discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation.
Serious breaches of this policy will be treated as potential gross misconduct and this could mean action up to and including summary dismissal may be considered.
You should also be aware that you may be held personally liable for any act of unlawful discrimination. This may also be considered a criminal offence.
If you believe that you have suffered from an act of improper or unlawful discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation, you should first inform a line manager of a member of the HR department. Alternatively, you may wish to raise a formal grievance and further information can be found in our grievance policy. An investigation will then commence to ensure that we fully look into the allegations that have been made. If we consider the allegation to be serious enough, we may choose to suspend in accordance with the disciplinary policy.
Employees must not retaliate against another employee if an allegation has been made or is thought to have been made. This will be treated as potential gross misconduct in accordance with our disciplinary policy.
We may choose to use mediation as part of a solution to improve the working environment. This will be completed by an independent third party and whilst it is voluntary, we would encourage all parties to work together and participate. The purpose of mediation is for all parties to come together within a safe environment to discuss concerns and agree on new ways to work together.
Monitoring of Equal Opportunities
If it is considered necessary, we will monitor the effects of recruitment decisions along with personnel and pay practices in order to assess whether equal opportunities and dignity at work practices are being followed.
Should changes be required, we will work with those affected to ensure that the changes are implemented correctly.
The outcome letter will confirm the following details:
- Reason for the redundancy (dismissal);
- Details of the notice period;
- Final date of employment;
- Details of any redundancy payment entitlement;
- Outstanding annual leave entitlement;
- The right of appeal against the decision.
Notes and Documentation
- Recruitment and Selection policy;
- Disciplinary policy;
- Grievance policy;
- Whistleblowing policy.
Bullying and Harassment Policy Statement
We will not tolerate either bullying or harassment in the work place or at work related events outside of the work place, regardless of seniority or whether the conduct was a ‘one-off’ or has been repeated.
Neither will we tolerate retaliation against, or victimisation of any of our people involved in bringing a complaint of bullying or harassment.
Responsibility for the Bullying and Harassment Policy
Our Leadership team has overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy. The Leadership team has delegated day-to-day responsibility for operating the policy and ensuring its maintenance and review to the HR Coordinator.
Bullying and Harassment Policy Principles
This policy applies to all of our employees (who have a contract of employment with Solvo Vir). It does not apply to agency workers, consultants or the self-employed.
This policy does not form part of your terms and conditions and may be amended at any time.
Victimisation is classed as treating someone less favourably due to them lodging a compliant or believing that they have lodged a complaint or have been part of a complaint being lodged.
We commit to providing a work environment where everyone is treated with respect and dignity. All of our people have the right to a workplace which is free from harassment.
Everyone should conduct themselves in a reasonable and responsible manner at work and should not indulge in actions or behaviours which could be viewed as harassment of others.
Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for an individual. Harassment can include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct.
Bullying is defined as being offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure a recipient.
Examples of bullying and harassment include:
- Verbal abuse or offensive comments, jokes or pranks relating to age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage, civil partnership, pregnancy, maternity, race, religion, belief, sex or orientation;
- Lewd or suggestive comments;
- Display of ‘pin ups’, pornography, inflammatory or abusive literature or graffiti;
- Deliberate exclusion from conversations or work activities;
- Withholding information that a person needs to be able to complete their job;
- Practical jokes, initiation ceremonies or inappropriate birthday rituals;
- Physical abuse such as hitting, pushing or jostling;
- Rifling through, hiding or damaging personal property;
- Subjecting a person to humiliation, ridicule, belittling their efforts often in front of others;
- Unfair treatment compared to colleagues;
- Overbearing supervision or the misuse of position;
- Preventing colleagues from progressing by intentionally blocking promotion or training opportunities.
Bullying or harassment does not need to happen face-to-face, it may also happen via email, telephone, social media or via a third party.
Bullying and harassment does not include appropriate criticism of an employee’s behaviour or conduct.
It is important to recognise that conduct which one person finds acceptable may not be to another. We ask that you treat colleagues with respect and the appropriate amount of sensitivity.
We commit to investigating and taking action against cases of harassment and bullying to ensure that the workplace remains free of these behaviours. This supports our zero-tolerance approach to bullying and harassment.
Policy Communication and Training
From time to time, we may send out communications to support our values and commitments to dignity at work. This strives towards creating and sustaining a bullying and harassment free workplace.
We provide training on equality and diversity to all employees and external third parties acting on our behalf. If we feel that further training on bullying and harassment is required, we will also provide this.
The Process for Dealing with Bullying and Harassment
If you, or a colleague is being bullied or harassed by a customer, supplier or someone at work you can raise this with your line manager or a member of the HR team (this is classed as being informal). Alternatively, you may wish to raise a formal grievance (this is classed as formal).
If the issue is dealt with informally, there will be no action taken against the perpetrator. However, in exceptional circumstances (such as serious allegations of sexual misconduct), we may decide to investigate and take further action.
Formal action will involve an investigation meeting with you to discuss your concerns and decide how to proceed with the case. Witness statements will be taken (where possible) and we will need to tell the perpetrator in order to consider their actions. However, we will carry out the investigation as sensitively and confidentially as possible.
You may wish to keep a diary or a record of all incidents and relevant information, as this will help with the investigation.
Where you work in close proximity to the perpetrator, we may take the following action whilst the case is being investigated:
- Transferring one or more employees to a different department for a period of time;
- Asking one or more employee to remain at home on full pay.
After the investigation, we will meet with you to consider the complaint, the investigation and the findings. At this meeting, you may be accompanied (please refer to the disciplinary policy for further information).
After the meeting we will write to you to inform you of the decision and to notify you of the right of appeal.
The appeal will follow the same process as stated in the disciplinary policy.
False accusations of bullying or harassment have a serious effect on innocent individuals. You have a responsibility not to make false allegations. False allegations will be dealt with in conjunction with the disciplinary policy.
Notes and Documentation
- Disciplinary policy;
- Grievance policy.