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Equal Opportunities and Harassment Policy

 

  1. This sets out the Company’s policy on equal opportunities. THOMAS Recruitment Limited is committed to a policy of treating all its employees, job applicants, clients, customers and suppliers equally.

                Principles

  2. There should be no unlawful discrimination on account of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. These are known as protected characteristics under the legislation.

  3. Discrimination can take the form of a number of possibilities:

  • Direct Discrimination – where someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic.

  • Indirect Discrimination – where a rule or a policy that applies to everyone within the organisation can disadvantage people with a particular Protected Characteristic unless that required characteristic can be justified by showing that it was a reasonable characteristic to enable you to manage your business, i.e. that it is ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

  • Associative discrimination – where direct discrimination takes place against a person because they associate with someone who has a Protected Characteristic e.g. where an employee is discriminated against due to her being a carer of her disabled son.

  • Discrimination by Perception – where direct discrimination takes place against someone because others think they possess a Protected Characteristic, whether they do or not e.g. where an employee is discriminated against because he is thought to be gay even though he is not.

  1. THOMAS Recruitment Limited will appoint, train, develop, reward and promote on the basis of merit and ability.

  2. All employees have personal responsibility for the practical application of the Company’s equal opportunities policy, which extends to the treatment of job applicants, employees, clients, customers, suppliers and visitors.

  3. Special responsibility for the practicable application of the Company’s equal opportunities policy falls upon directors, Managers and supervisors involved in the recruitment, selection, promotion and training of employees.

  4. The Company’s grievance procedure is available to any employee who believes that he or she may have been unfairly discriminated against. The harassment complaints procedure set out in this policy is available to any employee who believes that he or she may have been harassed. Employees will not be victimised in any way for making such a complaint in good faith. Complaints of this nature will be dealt with seriously, in confidence and as soon as possible.

  5. Disciplinary action will be taken against any employee who is found to have committed an act of unlawful discrimination. Serious breaches of this policy and serious incidents of harassment will be treated as gross misconduct. Allegations of discrimination which are not made in good faith will also be considered as a disciplinary matter. Confidential records of ongoing matters dealt with in accordance with this policy will be kept.

  6. In the case of any doubt or concern about the application of this policy in any particular instance, consult a Manager.

  7. The Company will keep under review its policy, procedures and practices on equal opportunities.

                Equal Opportunities Code of Practice

  8. THOMAS Recruitment Limited has introduced this equal opportunities policy as a commitment to make full use of the talents and resource of all its employees and to provide a healthy environment which will encourage good and productive working operations within the organisation. This code of practice describes how the policy is to be applied throughout the Company.

  9. The Company is particularly concerned that equality of opportunity is maintained in the following areas:

  • Recruitment and selection;

  • Promotion, transfer and training;

  • Terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services;

  • Grievances and disciplinary procedures;

  • Dismissals and redundancies.

                Recruitment and Selection

  1. The following principles should apply whenever recruitment or selection for positions takes place:

  • Individuals will be assessed according to their personal capability to carry out a given job;

  • Assumptions that only certain types of person will be able to perform certain types of work must not be made;

  • Any qualifications or requirements applied to a job which have or may have the effect of inhibiting applications from certain types of person should only be retained if they can be justified in terms of the job to be done;

  • Recruitment solely or primarily by word of mouth should be avoided if its effect is or may be to prevent certain types of person from applying;

  • Selection tests should be specifically related to job requirements and should measure the person’s actual or inherent ability to do or train for the work;

  • Selection tests should be reviewed regularly to ensure they remain relevant and free from any unjustifiable bias, either in content or in scoring mechanism;

  • Applications from different types of person should be processed in the same way;

  • Written records of interviews and reasons for appointment and non-appointment should be kept;

  • Questions should relate to the requirements of the job; if it is necessary to assess whether personal circumstances may affect job performance, this should be done objectively without questions or assumptions being made which are based on stereotyped beliefs about certain types of person;

  • Where the Company’s arrangements for recruitment and selection put disabled people at a substantial disadvantage due to a reason connected with their disability, reasonable adjustments to the arrangements should be made to eliminate or if that is not reasonably practicable, reduce the disadvantage unless objectively justified;

  • No decisions regarding recruitment or selection should be made by a person who has not read and understood this policy.

  1. Pre-employment medical questionnaires will not usually be used by the Company unless in the following circumstances:

  • To make reasonable adjustment to facilitate interviewing for the job

  • Equality monitoring

  • To explore whether a prospective employee is able to undertake a function which is intrinsic to the work

  • Positive action

  • Disability is required for the role

                Promotion, Transfer and Training

  1. The following principles should apply to appointments for promotion, transfer and training:

  • Assessment criteria and appraisal schemes should be carefully examined to ensure that they are not unlawfully discriminatory;

  • Assessment criteria and appraisal schemes should be monitored and, where such criteria or schemes result in predominantly one group of workers gaining access to promotion, transfer or training, they will be checked to make sure this is not due to any hidden or indirect discrimination;

  • Promotion and career development patterns will be monitored to ensure that access to promotion and career development opportunities in particular groups of workers are not unjustifiably being excluded;

  • Traditional qualifications and requirements for promotion, transfer and training, such as length of service, and age, which may discriminate against certain groups of workers shall be reviewed and will only continue to be applied if genuinely justified;

  • Policies and practices regarding selection for training, day release and personal development should not result in an imbalance in training between groups of workers unless this is objectively justified;

  • Where the Company’s arrangements in relation to promotion, transfer or training put disabled workers at a substantial disadvantage for a reason connected with their disability, reasonable adjustments to the arrangements should be made to eliminate or, if that is not reasonably practicable, reduce the disadvantage unless objectively justified.

                Terms of Employment, Benefits, Facilities and Services

  1. The following principles shall apply to terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services:

  • The terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services available to workers should be reviewed regularly to ensure that they are provided in a way which is free from unlawful discrimination;

  • Part-time workers should receive pay, benefits, facilities and services on a pro-rata basis to their full-time comparator unless otherwise objectively justified;

  • Where the Company’s arrangements relating to terms of employment, benefits, facilities and services put disabled workers at a substantial disadvantage due to a reason connected with their disability, reasonable adjustments to the arrangements should be made to eliminate or, if that is not reasonably practicable, reduce the disadvantage unless otherwise objectively justified;

  • Pay and bonus criteria, policies and arrangements should be carefully examined and monitored, and if it appears that any group of workers are disadvantaged by them they will be checked to make sure that this is not due to any hidden or indirect discrimination.

                Grievances, Disciplinary Procedures, Dismissals and Redundancies

  1. Workers who, in good faith, bring a grievance (or assist another to do so) either under this policy or otherwise in relation to an equal opportunities matter will not be disciplined, dismissed or otherwise victimised for having done so;

  2. Any group of workers will not be disciplined or dismissed for performance or behaviour which would be overlooked or condoned in another group unless there is genuine and lawful justification for this;

  3. Redundancy criteria and procedures will be carefully examined to ensure that they do not operate in an unlawfully discriminatory manner;

  4. The provision of voluntary redundancy benefits will be equally available to all workers concerned unless there is a genuine and lawful justification for doing otherwise.

                Harassment - Policy Statement

  5. All employees have the right to work in an environment which is free from any form of harassment.

  6. It is the Company’s policy that the harassment of any of its employees is unacceptable behaviour. Anyone found to be in breach of this policy will be liable to disciplinary action which could result in their dismissal.

                Harassment - What is it?

  7. Harassment takes many forms, occurs on a variety of different grounds and can be directed at one person or many people. An essential characteristic is that it is unwanted by the recipient and that the recipient finds the conduct offensive or unacceptable. Conduct becomes harassment if it persists once it has been made clear that it is regarded by the recipient as offensive, although a single incident may amount to harassment if sufficiently serious. It is the unwanted nature of the conduct which distinguishes harassment from friendly behaviour which is welcome and mutual. Harassment in the work place can come from a colleague or an external third party.

  8. Harassment can be based on:

  • Sex

  • Disability

  • Gender reassignment

  • Race

  • Religion or belief; or

  • Sexual orientation

     

                Whilst not an exhaustive list, forms of harassment include:

  • Physical contact

  • Jokes, offensive language, gossip, slander, offensive or sectarian songs and letters

  • Posters, graffiti, obscene gestures, emblems, flags

  • Offensive e-mail, screen savers etc

  • Isolation or non-co-operation and exclusion

  • Coercion for sexual favours

  • Pressure to participate in political/religious groups

  • Intrusion by pestering, spying and stalking.

  • Harassment is unlawful in many cases and individuals may be legally held liable for their actions.

                Procedure

  1. Due to the seriousness with which the Company views harassment, informal and formal reporting procedures have been introduced which are separate from the Grievance Procedure as a mechanism for dealing with complaints of harassment.

  2. All allegations of harassment will be dealt with seriously, promptly and in confidence. Employees who feel they have been subject to harassment must not hesitate in using this procedure nor fear victimisation. Retaliation against an employee who brings a complaint of harassment is a serious disciplinary offence which may constitute gross misconduct.

  3. The Administration Manager will provide, in confidence, advice and assistance to employees subjected to harassment and assist in the resolution of any problems, whether through informal or formal means.

    Informal Procedure

  4. I f an incident happens which you think may be harassment and you do not wish it to happen again, you may prefer initially to attempt to resolve the problem informally. In some cases it may be possible and sufficient to explain clearly to the person engaging in the unwanted conduct that the behaviour in question is not welcome, that if offends you or makes you uncomfortable and that it interferes with your work. You should make it clear that you want the behaviour to stop.

  5. In circumstances where this is too difficult or embarrassing for you to do on your own you should seek support from a friend or a Director.

  6. If you are in any doubt as to whether an incident or series of incidents which have occurred constitute harassment, then in the first instance you should approach a Director on an informal basis. He/she will be able to advise you as to whether the complaint necessitates further action, in which case the matter will be dealt with formally/informally as appropriate.

  7. If the conduct continues or if it is not appropriate to resolve the problem informally, it should be raised through the following formal process.

    Formal Procedure

  8. Where informal methods fail, or serious harassment occurs, you are advised to complain formally to a Director

  9. Consideration will be given to the immediate separation of the complainant and the alleged harasser. In serious cases the alleged harasser may be suspended.

  10. You will be interviewed by a Director handling the complaint to establish full details of what happened. He or she will then carry out a thorough, impartial and objective investigation as quickly as possible. Those carrying out the investigation will not be connected with the allegation in any way. An investigation will be carried out quickly, sensitively and with due respect for the rights of both you and the alleged harasser.

  11. The investigation will involve interviews with the person against whom you are making the complaint. The alleged harasser will be given full details of the nature of the complaint and will be given the opportunity to respond.

  12. You and the alleged harasser will have the right to be accompanied and/or represented by a colleague at any interviews. You will not be asked to provide details of the allegations repeatedly unless this is essential for the investigation.

  13. Strict confidentiality will be maintained throughout the investigation into the allegation. Where it is necessary to interview witnesses the importance of confidentiality will be emphasised to them.

  14. When the investigation has been completed you will be informed whether or not your allegation is considered to be well founded.

  15. If the allegation is well founded disciplinary action may be taken against a person alleged to have committed the behaviour you are complaining about and, depending on the circumstances and the seriousness of the complaint, may result in the dismissal of that person.

  16. If the allegation is not well founded, consideration will be given to whether it is necessary to transfer or reschedule the work of both or either party, in cases where it would not be appropriate for you to continue to work in close proximity.

  17. The Company takes these matters very seriously. However, malicious complaints of harassment can have a serious and detrimental effect upon a colleague. Any unwarranted allegation of harassment, made in bad faith, will be deemed potential gross misconduct. We are sure that all employees appreciate that this must be so to protect the integrity of this policy.