Step-by-Step Guide by dfhrf555fcg

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									                            Equalities Guide

                        1.The purpose of the Guide
This Guide sets out the key stages in the creation, implementation and monitoring of
the Equal Opportunities policy. It covers issues such as organisational culture,
recruitment and selection, terms and conditions, service delivery and monitoring and
evaluation.

The Guide is aimed specifically at smaller voluntary and community groups in Stoke-
on-Trent as well as interested individuals who are considering setting up a group.
The Guide focuses on two main areas: equalities in the workplace and in service
delivery.

As a minimum, when considering equal opportunities in your organisation, you
should have the following:

      A written equalities policy
      An action plan, describing the steps you will take to give effect to the policy;
      A plan for communicating the policy;
      Good recruitment and selection procedures;
      A procedure for dealing with complaints of discrimination and harassment;
      A way of monitoring progress on your action plan, and taking steps if you are
       not seeing results.

Further information about the subjects covered in this Guide can be provided by
contacting the Community Development Team at the North Staffs Racial Equality
Council and from Voluntary Action Stoke-on-Trent.



1.1 Reasons for an Equalities Policy


      The aim of a policy is to ensure that all service users and staff receive fair and
       equal treatment.
      It gives more choice in recruiting the best person for the job.
      The organisation benefits from new ideas, by drawing on the talents, skills
       and different cultural perspectives of a diverse staff.
      It contributes to a working environment where people feel they are respected
       and valued, and are ready to give of their best.
      A written policy will help you to make sure that everyone who works for you,
       or uses your services, knows that you are committed to running your
       organisation on the principles of equality.
      It strengthens your organisation’s reputation as a good employer.
       Discrimination is bad for your organisation’s reputation.
      It improves service delivery and satisfaction.
      It reduces the risk of legal liability and costly and time-consuming disputes –
       for example, racial discrimination is unlawful, and there are no limits to the



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       compensation that an employment tribunal can order you to make, if you lose
       a case.
      If a case of discrimination is brought against you, under the law, you will have
       to convince an employment tribunal that you did not discriminate unlawfully. A
       written policy, and evidence that you have followed it, will help you to show
       that you take equality seriously.



                                      2. Guide


2.1 Equalities Policy:

Most policies will include the following:

      A statement of the organisation’s commitment to equal opportunities,
       including a commitment to remove barriers to equal opportunity
      The aims of the policy
      A definition of direct and indirect discrimination, victimisation and harassment.
      The areas of your organisation covered by the policy – for example,
       recruitment, training and services;
      How you will put the policy into practice;
      Who is responsible for making sure the policy is put into practice
      The steps you plan to take to publicise the policy – for example, by giving a
       copy to all employees and job applicants, and by displaying it on
       noticeboards;
      How you will enforce the policy
      Details for implementing the policy
      An obligation upon employees to respect and act in accordance with the
       policy
      Procedures for dealing with complaints of discrimination
      Details of monitoring and review procedures



                         3. Equality in the Workplace

Responsibility for equal opportunities in your organisation

Commitment to the policy should be evident at a senior level, and overall
responsibility should be given to a senior member of staff or a senior member of the
management committee. Day-to-day responsibility should be assigned to members
of line or personnel management. It must be stressed, however, that the commitment
of all employees is necessary to make the Policy a success.

Making sure all employees know about the policy

It is recommended that the policy should be written, and made known to managers,
employees and job applicants and notified to any sources from which job vacancies
are filled.



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Implementing the policy

Implementing the policy should be responsibility of a particular individual or a group,
according to the size and structure of the organisation.

Training employees on the policy

All employees should be made aware of the policy and those involved in the
recruitment and selection process given training on the application of the policy
relative to their responsibilities.

Examining your existing practices, policies and procedures

This is an essential step towards becoming an equal opportunities employer. It is
common to find employment practices and systems which appear to be neutral but
which on closer examination, operate to exclude or impede particular groups for
reasons which are not job-related or required for safe or efficient operation. Some of
the factors involved, although unintentional, may nevertheless amount to unlawful
direct or indirect discrimination. To identify such barriers to equal opportunities,
existing employment practices, procedures and policies should be examined and
revised where appropriate. For example, many organisations have reviewed and
changed their recruitment and selection procedures in the process of becoming an
equal opportunities employer.


             4. Good Recruitment and Selection policies

People are a vital resource for organisations. Recruiting and retaining employees
from the widest possible field is vital to the development of your organisation. Staff
selection is an obvious area where unfair discrimination can occur, and has long
been an issue for those concerned with race, gender and disability equality. Fair and
effective recruitment and selection procedures are the key to appointing the best
people. They also provide you with a defence if any complaints are made.

There is much more to the recruitment and selection process than appointing an
individual to a job. With each job advertisement, the organisation is potentially
communicating with a huge audience. The entire process is a unique opportunity for
organisations to send out a message about what it values both in its staff and its
customers.

The different stages involved in recruitment and selection include:
     Job descriptions and person specifications;
     Advertising;
     Applications;
     Short-listing;
     Selection tests;
     Interviews; and
     Appointments.

For further information, refer to the good practice examples and the glossary of
terms.




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Action points

      Have clear, inclusive recruitment policies and procedures
      Make the recruitment process transparent
      Find out if the make-up of your employees reflects your client base or the
       communities you serve. Consider how it would help your organisation if it did.
      Think about how and where you advertise vacancies.
      Look also at the language you use. Is it unwittingly discouraging sections of
       the community from applying?
      Ensure that recruitment advertising and literature reflect the public profile you
       wish for your organisation.
      Always include your Equal Opportunities policy in the information you send
       out to applicants.
      Train the people in your organisation who will make the decisions:
           o Interviewers need to understand the selection criteria and apply them
               consistently.
           o Establish a system so that employees know what to do if they think an
               interviewer has made a prejudiced remark or a decision based on
               criteria other than the candidate’s ability to do the job.


                                 5. Advertising
Advertisements

An advertisement includes advertising in the print-based and broadcast media and
on the Internet, as well as direct mail advertising and in-company advertising.

Issues to be aware of when advertising as part of recruitment and selection centre
upon the wording of the advert and its placement. Organisations providing a
particular service that want to recruit from as wide a group of people as possible
should consider using non-mainstream media, and provide materials that are
accessible, readable and not off-putting. These principles also apply to advertising
the organisation’s service.

                          6. Gender reassignment
The medical process that enables transgender people to alter their bodies to match
their gender identity is known as gender reassignment.

The Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999 expressly
extended the Sexual Discrimination Act (SDA) to cover discrimination on the ground
of gender reassignment in employment and vocational training. It is unlawful to
discriminate against a person for the purpose of employment or vocational training on
the ground that the person intends to undergo gender reassignment, or is undergoing
gender reassignment, or has at some time in the past undergone gender
reassignment.

The Regulations have not been extended to cover discrimination on gender
reassignment grounds in education (except vocational training), or the provision of
housing, goods, facilities and services.




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                  7. Exceptions to Equal Opportunities
In limited circumstances, it is possible to lawfully treat women and men differently.
For example, non-profit making, voluntary bodies that exist to provide services to one
sex and charities where it is laid down in their charitable instruments that they
provide services to one sex. These organisations are exempt from the Sex
Discrimination Act 1975 (SDA). For example, the Women’s Rape and Sexual
Violence Service (WR&SVS), because of the sensitive nature of its work, only
engages women as staff members and volunteers and provides a service for women.
For the Women’s Rape and Sexual Violence Service policy on employing and
dealing with transgender people, refer to the good practice example in the Guide


                  8. Bullying and Harassment at Work
Harassment and bullying are forms of discrimination and as such should not be
tolerated. The distinction between bullying and harassment is important in helping to
formulate and implement Equal Opportunity policies. However, it should be noted
that there are no legal distinctions except where sexual and racial harassment can be
viewed as discrimination for the purposes of employment legislation.

Who can be bullied?

Bullying is not necessarily linked to gender, race, disability, sexuality, ethnic origin,
religion or belief nor by position in an organisation: almost equal numbers of women
and men are bullied and, although those doing the bullying are more likely to be men
and managers, middle management and senior managers have reported that they
have been targets of bullying. It often involves a person in authority bullying
subordinates, but it may equally involve group behaviour. Isolated managers may be
bullied by their peer group. Experience suggests that those who have themselves
been bullied will sometimes use the same tactics on others.

What is harassment?

There is no single, simple definition of harassment. It can take a variety of forms, and
be directed at an individual or a group. The harassment of individuals and groups is
often related to social identity and may be based on race, gender, sexual orientation,
age, disability, or affect any grouping in society that may be identified as being
different, in the minority, or lacking in power.

 It is unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of sex or race, or on the grounds of
sexual orientation or religion and belief.

There is no proper legal definition of either bullying or harassment. However, The
Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) provides a definition of
harassment that may be useful:

‘Unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may
be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, nationality or any personal
characteristic of the individual and may be persistent or an isolated incident.’

A key point is that the behaviour is unwanted and not reciprocated. It is also
important to note that the behaviour is perceived by the recipient to be offensive,



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regardless of whether that was the intention. Racial and sexual harassment can
occur as single, offensive acts, which count as unlawful discrimination.

Harassment may include:
    Harassment of clients by employees
    Harassment of employees by clients
    Harassment within an organisation

An equalities policy should cover all of these areas. For further information, see the
good practice policies from Arch and Stoke-on-Trent CAB.

It is essential that an organisation have a procedure in place for dealing with
complaints of harassment within the workforce. Such a policy can be extended to
dealing with complaints of harassment of clients by employees and harassment of
employees by clients.

Such a policy should contain a statement condemning harassment that should:

      Define unacceptable behaviour
      Make clear to employees that harassment can be treated as a disciplinary
       offence
      Point out that everyone can be subject to harassment
      Explain that it is for the person on the receiving end of any behaviour to
       decide whether they find it unacceptable

Establish a procedure for dealing with complaints of harassment that covers both the
employee and the customer. The procedure should:

      Specify to whom a complaint should be made, and provide for an alternative
      Ensure that complaints are treated seriously and sympathetically
      Provide for the protection of the employee where she/he is harassed by a
       customer, client, supplier, sub-contractor or member of the public.
      Ensure that any complaint is dealt with promptly and carefully.
      Carry out investigations objectively and independently. Records should be
       kept. If a complaint is upheld and the harasser is an employee, procedures
       should be in place to ensure that the harasser can be dealt with under the
       disciplinary procedure.
      Ensure that procedures set out a time frame for the investigation. The
       complainant and the alleged harasser should be told at the outset how long
       the investigation is likely to take and who will be communicating with them.
       Complainants should be kept well informed at every stage.
      Ensure that staff are trained in the policy.
      Monitor and evaluate the working of the policy.



Bullying, Harassment and the law

Employers have a general duty under Health and Safety legislation to provide a safe
and healthy working environment, which should include protection from bullying and
harassment. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1975 requires employers to protect
the health, safety and welfare at work of their employees. The Management of Health
and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 also ensure that employers have a duty to



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carry out an assessment of the risk to employees’ health and to take preventative
measures to deal with identified risks.

Sexual harassment is now well-established as a form of sexual discrimination and is
therefore unlawful under the Sex Discrimination Act 1975. Racial harassment cases
can be brought using the Race Relations Act 1976; The Disability Discrimination Act
1995 gives protection against harassment of disabled workers. The Employment
Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations and Employment Equality (Sexual
Orientation) Regulations came into force in December 2003. They are only applicable
in the fields of employment and vocational training provided by recognised
establishments. For the purpose of the new regulations, ‘religion or belief’ is defined
as being ‘any religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.’

Employees might also be protected under criminal law by the Protection from
Harassment Act 1997; and if forced to leave employment because of bullying they
could claim unfair or constructive dismissal under the Employment Rights Act 1996.
(There may well be implications under the Human Rights Act 1998.)


Policies should include measures that those experiencing harassment can take
– for example:

      Log all incidents
      Note your own response
      If you cannot confront the harasser directly, send them a memo saying what
       you object to (keep copies)
      Avoid seeing the harasser except when others are present
      Talk to your colleagues and see if they are affected
      Check your job description to see if your grievances are justified

Policies need to include a clear description of the employer’s responsibilities.
This can include:

      Having open lines of communication to address the issues: often harassers
       do not realise the result of their actions and an early, assertive discussion can
       quickly resolve the problem without reverting to disciplinary channels.
      Ask to what extent the organisational culture is contributing to harassment
       (pressure on managers, impossible deadlines, ‘downsizing’.)
      Does the organisation have the necessary human resource skills?
      Does the person being harassed/harasser have a history of being
       harassed/harassing in other situations? This might point to personal support
       or training needs.
      Ensure that workers co-operate to prevent individuals being singled out
      Work with staff to put in place disciplinary and grievance procedures to deal
       with unacceptable behaviour
      Create a culture where staff trust each other and trust managers
      Draw up policies to reduce or eliminate harassment and ensure that they are
       effectively communicated, including the consequences of breaching them.

Including your policy in the organisation’s overall equalities policy gives out a clear
message for all. It makes clear what an organisation considers to be acceptable
behaviour and how it expects people to work within its culture. Without such a policy,
it is hard for staff to raise issues about a bullying manager or colleague.



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                                   9. Volunteers


Volunteers have rights – they are not the same rights as employees have, and it is
not appropriate to use employment-related policies and terminology with reference to
volunteers.

Volunteers cannot legally be bound by the same obligations that paid staff are.

Defining a volunteer

There is no general legal definition of a volunteer. It is a complex area of law, where
one has to balance the need to deliver an effective, consistent service to clients with
the needs of volunteers.

Avoid creating a legally binding agreement or contract

As entitlement to workers’ or employees’ rights depends on whether there is a
contract, the first stage is to avoiding creating a contract or agreement that is or
would appear binding. A contract can be an implied (based on how things actually
work in practice), verbal, or written description of the relationship between the
organisation and its volunteers.

Avoid applying policies that have been written for paid staff to volunteers, as the
nature of the relationship is so different.

Equal opportunities and volunteers

As with all recruitment and selection, it is vital that volunteers are selected using fair,
open and non-discriminatory criteria.

Race and sex discrimination

The employment provisions of the Race Relations Act (RRA 1976) and the Sex
Discrimination Act (SDA 1975) apply to employees and most workers working under
a contract. They make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of marital status, gender
reassignment, sex, ethnic group, race, colour, national origin or nationality.

As volunteers are not working under a contract, the employment provisions of the
above acts do not apply; they cannot claim race or sex discrimination in relation to
employment. It is, however, good practice for an organisation to comply with the spirit
of the law in relation to potential and current volunteers.

Both the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Commission for Racial Equality
have sought to bring volunteers within the scope of these Acts.

Disability Discrimination

In the same way, the employment provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act do
not apply to volunteers, unless they are working under a contract. However, it is good
practice not to discriminate against current or potential volunteers on the basis of




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disability. Good practice also involves taking all reasonable measures to attract
disabled volunteers and making reasonable adjustments to enable them to volunteer.

Employment Equality Regulations

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations and Employment Equality
(Religion or Belief) Regulations, which came into effect in 2003, make it unlawful to
discriminate in employment and training on the grounds of sexual orientation and
religion or belief. However, the Regulations do not cover volunteers.

Rehabilitation of offenders

Volunteering is treated in the same way as employment for the purposes of the
Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 and for regulations relating to criminal record
checks.

The absence of a criminal record does not necessarily mean that the person is
suitable as a volunteer. Similarly, a criminal record should not automatically disbar
any potential volunteer.

Service requirements

The lack of a contractual relationship with volunteers does not make them
unmanageable. People who give their time on a voluntary basis have certain
responsibilities, both as a matter of law and of good practice. Volunteers have to
comply with the law. They have a duty of care to clients, the public, paid staff, other
volunteers and the organisation as a whole.

Complaints process for volunteers

As volunteers do not have the level of protection under law afforded to employees it
is important that they have a recognised channel for complaints. An open and fair
internal complaints process should help volunteers and the organisation to resolve
any problems. If there is no appropriate channel volunteers will be more likely to take
up complaints outside the organisation, e.g. at a tribunal. There is no formal
grievance procedure for volunteers.


                                 10. Monitoring

Being certain that you are providing equal opportunities

It is recommended that information be gathered on the employment situation of your
organisation. Without this information, you can never be certain that you are actually
providing equal opportunities.

Where to start with monitoring and how much information is required

It is crucial to be able to measure whether the policy is achieving its aims. Monitoring
is the process by which information is collected, stored and analysed in order to
measure performance, progress and change. Its purpose is to:

      Disclose possible inequalities



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      Investigate their underlying causes; and
      Remove any unfairness or disadvantage.

Monitoring needs to show where change is required and the progress made in
achieving change.

The process will have three distinct stages:

      Gathering the information
      Analysing the data collected to identify where there are blocks to equality
      Defining the programme of action necessary to overcome any inequalities

An Equal Opportunities Policy should be monitored at every stage, including:

      All elements of the recruitment and selection process
      Promotion and transfer
      Training
      Terms and conditions of employment
      Policies on work/life balance and harassment policies
      Grievance and disciplinary procedures
      Resignations, redundancies, and dismissals

When introducing monitoring, explain clearly why you have decided to use it. It is part
of your equality policy and the information will help you to tackle any inequalities.

      Ask your staff and all job applicants to fill out a monitoring form. The form
       should be anonymous. For job applicants, you should keep the form separate
       from the application form, and from the entire selection process.
      If your analysis of the data shows that some groups are under-represented,
       both in your organisation as a whole and at certain levels take a thorough
       look at your various policies, practices and procedures – for example, in
       recruitment, promotion, appraisal, and training – and consider different
       approaches.
      Monitor complaints of discrimination or harassment by background and use
       the information when you review policy and practice.
      Keep the information strictly confidential at all times. You should only use the
       information to produce statistical analyses, making sure that individuals are
       not identifiable.
      Make sure your employees are kept informed about what you are doing and
       any progress you have made.


Taking action to remedy the effects of past discrimination

Monitoring should identify barriers to equality of opportunity, the reasons for them
and the remedial measures necessary to overcome them. Such measures can take
the form of positive action.


                             11. Service Delivery
An equal opportunities policy in service delivery




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The best way to promote equality is to make sure it is built into all policies and
programmes. An equal opportunities policy in service delivery is most likely to be
effective if it is part of a whole series of policies that promotes equality into every
aspect of the organisation’s activities. It should be set alongside equal opportunities
policies that are already in place for employees and have the backing of staff and
management.

The aim of a policy is to ensure that all service users receive fair and equal
treatment.

When writing an equal opportunities policy in service delivery, organisations should
provide a definition of what is meant by ‘service delivery’ so staff and users know
what is covered.

Policies will differ depending upon the organisation’s size, its resources, the facilities
and services it provides. Many of the principles involved in writing an equal
opportunities policy for service delivery are the same as those that apply when
writing a similar policy for employment.

As with any policy it is not enough for an organisation to have a statement that it is
committed to equal opportunities. This will be meaningless unless supported by a
clear and explicit implementation plan. The only way to measure the performance of
the plan is to monitor it. Monitoring and evaluation are important for formalising the
actual benefits of the policy.


A policy should include the following:

The statement

The policy statement should:
    Explain who is covered by the policy
    Explain what is meant by the goods, facilities or services provided
    State the aims and outcomes of the policy
    Link to the organisation’s vision or mission statement and business plan
    Have reference to the legal requirements
    Indicate who has responsibility for implementation

The implementation plan

The implementation plan should include:
    Commitment from the management committee and staff
    Consultation with service users, staff, and the wider community
    The training of staff to promote ownership and good practice
    Target setting with timescales
    Establishing methods for monitoring and measuring progress
    Communicating the policy to service users and staff

Monitoring the policy

Monitoring should include the collection of data for:

      The spectrum of service users
      Those refused services


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      Service user retention
      Complaints

Evaluation of the policy

If the policy and implementation plan are successful, monitoring results will show:

      There is a fair representation of people from all groups in the community
      The levels of service user retention and satisfaction
      The reputation of the organisation in the local community

Targets

After evaluation, targets can be set to improve future performance when needed.




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