Equal Opportunities, Harassment, Discrimination and Diversity

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					Equal Opportunities, Harassment,
Discrimination and Diversity Policy

Doc No HRP15                                                                Rev 0
                                                                            December 2008

1.0     Introduction

1.1     The aim of the policy is to create an environment within which every employee is:

        •   valued for who they are and the differences they bring to the workplace
        •   encouraged and enabled to develop their potential in the workplace and to progress
        •   free from harassment, bullying and discrimination
        •   in which good management practice is promoted and recognised

1.2     The NDA embraces an environment where every individual has a right to equal treatment
        and equality of opportunity. As such, there will be no discrimination or harassment on
        grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, creed, religion, sexual
        orientation, gender, marital status or disability.

2.0     Equal Opportunities

2.1     All of us as individuals and the NDA as an employer are required to comply with equal
        opportunities legislation. It is therefore important that everyone creates the environment
        where employees are valued and treated with respect and avoid actions that might
        influence others to discriminate.
2.2     It is this NDA’s policy to treat all job applicants and employees fairly and equally,
        regardless of their sex, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital
        status, civil partnership status, age or perceived age, race, colour, nationality, national
        origins, ethnic origin or disability. Furthermore, the NDA will monitor the composition of
        the workforce to ensure that this policy is effective.
2.3     Through this policy and procedure and the training and development of managers and
        employees, the NDA will do all it can to promote good practice in this area in order to
        eliminate discrimination or harassment so far as is reasonably possible.
2.4     The NDA is an equal opportunity employer. Equal opportunity is about good employment
        practices and efficient use of our most valuable asset, our employees. Every manager
        and employee has personal responsibility for the implementation of the policy.
2.5     The NDA will not discriminate on grounds of sex, trans-gender status, sexual orientation,
        religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, race, ethnic origin, colour,
        nationality, national origins, disability or age.
2.6     The policy applies to the process of recruitment and selection, promotion, training,
        conditions of work, pay and benefits and to every other aspect of employment, including
        general treatment at work and the processes involved in the termination of employment.
2.7     The policy applies to job applicants (both internal and external) and all employees
        whether full time, part time, temporary, and seasonal or contract.


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2.8     When establishing criteria for recruitment and promotion into vacant posts, the NDA will
        consider carefully whether any minimum or maximum number of years of relevant
        experience is necessary for effective performance of the job. Such restrictions will not be
        imposed unless there is a proper job-based reason why they are necessary.
2.9     The employer operates a contractual retirement age of 65 for all employees. Employees
        have the right, however, to submit written requests to continue working beyond this age
        (see the company’s retirement policy HRP11).
2.10    Employees who are disabled or become disabled in the course of their employment
        should inform the NDA about their disability. Management will then arrange to discuss
        with the employee what reasonable adjustments to their job or working conditions or
        environment might assist them in the performance of their duties. The employee will also
        be encouraged to suggest any adjustments that they believe would be helpful. Careful
        consideration will be given to any proposals and, where reasonable such adjustments
        will be made. There may, however, be circumstances where it will not be practicable for
        the NDA to accommodate proposals put forward by the employee.
2.11    Any employee may use the Disciplinary, Grievance and Capability Policy HRP14 to
        complain about discriminatory conduct. If the matter relates to sexual or racial
        harassment or harassment on the basis of disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief
        or age, then the complaint may be raised directly with the HR Director. The NDA is
        concerned to ensure that employees feel comfortable about raising such complaints. No
        individual will be penalised for raising such a complaint unless the substance of the
        complaint is untrue or the complaint is made in bad faith, for example out of malice.
2.12    Where an employee is falsely accused of discriminatory conduct, then they may
        implement the NDA’s grievance procedure HRP14. In this instance, the person who
        made the false accusation may be subjected to disciplinary action. In serious cases,
        such behaviour may be deemed to constitute gross misconduct and may result in
        summary dismissal.
2.13    This policy will be monitored on a regular basis by the senior management. Where there
        are issues with the way the policy is working, these will be looked at closely with a view
        to identifying measures to improve the effectiveness of the policy.

3.0     Disabled Workers
3.1     The NDA recognises that it has clear obligations towards all its employees and the
        community at large to ensure that people with disabilities are afforded equal
        opportunities to enter employment and progress within the NDA. In addition to complying
        with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the NDA will follow
        procedures designed to provide for fair consideration and selection of disabled
        applicants and to satisfy their training and career development needs. When an
        employee becomes disabled in the course of their employment, reasonable steps will be
        taken to accommodate their disability by considering adjustments to working practices

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        and arrangements, or by considering redeployment and appropriate retraining to enable
        him or her to remain in employment with the NDA wherever reasonably possible.
3.2     The law imposes an obligation on employers not to discriminate against disabled people
        on grounds relating to their disability. The NDA’s policy is to comply with those statutory
        obligations.
3.3     Recruitment and Selection
3.3.1 The HR department, in consultation with relevant line managers, will ensure that:

        •   all job descriptions/personnel specifications and recruitment advertisements are
            drafted in such a way as to make clear which are the essential requirements of the
            position and consideration will be given to making reasonable adjustments to job
            descriptions/personnel specifications to accommodate the needs of people with
            disabilities

        •   the NDA’s equal opportunity policy is referenced in all recruitment advertising
3.3.2 Providing the manager responsible for recruitment has been made aware that a job
      applicant has a disability, they must inform the reception desk and other relevant
      employees when the person is expected for interview and provide instructions on how
      they should be assisted.
3.3.3 A risk assessment will be undertaken before any disabled person begins work and,
      where doubts exist over a disabled person’s ability to perform the full duties of the job
      concerned, a trial period may be offered after consultation with the HR department. A
      copy of the risk assessment will be kept on the employee's file.
3.3.4 Where adaptation of premises is required to enable a disabled person to take up
      employment, the matter should be discussed with the HR department who may liaise
      with the Disablement Advisory Service where appropriate.
3.3.5 In cases where advice is needed on a medical condition or on the safety implications of
      recruiting a disabled employee, the HR department will contact the Employment Medical
      Advisory Service or the NDA’s occupational health service providers for guidance.
3.4     During Employment
3.4.1 Where special steps need to be taken to ensure health and safety of any employee,
      members of the department concerned, together with safety and other employee
      representatives, will be informed by a representative of the HR department.
3.4.2 Training and promotion opportunities will be available to all, regardless of disability. The
      HR department is responsible for monitoring the application of the equal opportunity
      policy throughout employment. An extended trial period may be offered to a disabled
      employee on transfer or promotion where considered appropriate by the line manager in
      consultation with the HR department.
3.5     Disabilities Arising During Employment
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3.5.1 When an employee becomes incapable of carrying out his or her normal duties because
      of a disability, consideration must be given to reasonable adjustments to the job and
      working conditions, redeployment and retraining.
3.5.2 Where necessary, the HR department will arrange through the Disablement Advisory
      Service or the NDA’s occupational health providers for an employee’s capabilities to be
      assessed with a view to identifying suitable alternative work for that individual or making
      reasonable adjustments.
3.6     Termination of Employment
3.6.1 Capability: where an employee’s performance falls to an unacceptably low standard
      through deterioration in their health or fitness caused by a disability, the HR department,
      together with the line manager and employee concerned, will:

        •   explore the possibility of adjusting the job to allow continuation of employment

        •   consider alternative employment

        •   consider any other alternative options
3.6.2 If, having considered the above options, it is apparent that the employee cannot
      realistically continue in employment, a decision to dismiss in line with the Capability
      policy HRP14 may be taken only by a director of the NDA following consultation with the
      employee and in conjunction with medical advice. Prior to any dismissal the NDA will
      consider the duty to make reasonable adjustments in respect of disabled employers. A
      disabled employee will not be selected for redundancy on the grounds of his or her
      disability.

4.0     Harassment

4.1     This NDA forbids all forms of harassment and seeks to ensure that the working
        environment is comfortable for all its employees. The following procedure informs
        employees of the types of behaviour that are unacceptable and provides employees who
        are the victims of harassment with a means of redress. Harassment on the grounds of
        sex, transgender status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national
        origins, religion or belief, marital status, disability, age or perceived age or on any other
        grounds is unacceptable. Implementation of the policy is the duty of all and all
        employees are expected to comply.

5.0     Examples of Harassment



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5.1     Sexual harassment may take many forms, from relatively mild sexual banter to actual
        physical violence. Employees may not always realise that their behaviour constitutes
        sexual harassment but they must recognise that what is acceptable to one person may
        not be acceptable to another. Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct that is related to
        someone’s sex or that of another person and which has the purpose or effect of violating
        the person’s dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or
        offensive environment for that person. Examples of sexual harassment include:

        •   insensitive jokes and pranks that contain a sexual element

        •   remarks or banter that have a sexual content

        •   lewd comments about appearance

        •   unnecessary body contact

        •   displays of sexually offensive material, eg pin-ups, e-mails with offensive attachments

        •   requests for sexual favours

        •   speculation about a person’s private life and sexual activities

        •   threatened or actual sexual violence

        •   threat of dismissal, loss of promotion, etc for refusal of sexual favours

        •   emails of a sexual nature
5.2     Racial harassment can also take many forms, from relatively minor abuse to actual
        physical violence. Examples of harassment include:

        •   insensitive jokes related to race, colour or nationality

        •   remarks or banter that have a racial content or are racist in nature

        •   pranks perpetrated on racial grounds

        •   deliberate exclusion from conversations on racial grounds

        •   abusive, threatening or insulting words and behaviour on racial grounds

        •   displaying racially abusive writing or pictures

        •   emails of a racial nature
5.3     Harassment relating to disability could take many forms, including:

        •   insensitive jokes relating to disability or disabled people


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        •   remarks or banter about disabled people

        •   abusive or insulting remarks or gestures on the grounds of a person’s disability

        •   emails with unnecessary references to a person’s disability
5.4     Harassment on grounds of gender can take many forms. Examples of sex-based
        harassment include:

        •   demeaning jokes, remarks or banter about women (or men) in the workplace

        •   pranks played on women (or men), particularly where women (or men) form a
            minority in the workforce

        •   deliberate exclusion of women (or men) from conversations

        •   abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviours aimed at women (or men)
5.5     Harassment on the grounds that a person is intending to undergo, is undergoing or has
        undergone gender reassignment can take many forms including:

        •   insensitive jokes about a person’s transgender status

        •   remarks or banter about a person’s transgender status

        •   pranks perpetrated on people who are intending to undergo, are undergoing or have
            undergone gender reassignment

        •   deliberate exclusion of gender reassigned people from conversations

        •   abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviours aimed at people who are
            intending to undergo, are undergoing or have undergone gender reassignment
5.6     Harassment relating to sexual orientation could take many forms, including:

        •   insensitive jokes relating to sexual orientation

        •   remarks or banter about gay or lesbian people

        •   displays of sexually offensive material relating to sexual orientation, eg e-mails with
            offensive attachments

        •   pranks perpetrated on grounds of a person being gay, lesbian, bisexual or
            heterosexual

        •   speculation about a person’s private life and sexual activities

        •   emails making unnecessary reference to sexual orientation


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5.7 Harassment relating to religion or belief could take many forms, including:

        •   insensitive jokes or pranks linked to religion or belief or to absence of religion or belief

        •   remarks or banter about religious beliefs or practices

        •   abusive, threatening or insulting words or behaviour on the grounds of religion or
            belief or absence of religion or belief

        •   displaying writing or pictures that are abusive towards a particular religion

        •   emails making unnecessary reference to a person’s religion or belief
5.8     Harassment relating to age could take many forms, including:

        •   insensitive jokes that make fun of younger or older people

        •   remarks or banter about older or younger people

        •   pranks perpetrated on age grounds

        •   deliberate exclusion on grounds of age

        •   a refusal to co-operate with someone on grounds of a perception that they are “too
            young” or “too old” to bother about

        •   treating someone’s ideas as inferior or worthless on account of youth or age

        •   making demeaning remarks (whether in fun or not) alleging that someone’s physical
            or mental abilities have declined on account of their age

        •   emails making unnecessary reference to age

        •   offensive age-related birthday cards
5.9     The examples above are not exhaustive. Some of the types of behaviour listed above
        may, after investigation, amount to gross misconduct, punishable by summary dismissal,
        depending on the circumstances of the case in question.

6.0     The Environment

6.1     The NDA prohibits the display of any offensive material, eg pin-ups and posters, and will
        if necessary ensure that workplaces are inspected and offending material removed.
6.2     All new employees will be informed of the NDA’s policy towards harassment at induction
        training, when it will be stressed that all complaints of harassment will be treated very
        seriously.

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6.3     The NDA recognises the sensitive nature of complaints of harassment. Employees may
        wish to be accompanied at investigatory meetings and this will be facilitated where
        possible.
6.4     If the complainant is not satisfied about the way his or her complaint has been handled,
        he or she may use the grievance procedure.
6.5     An employee who receives a warning or is dismissed for harassment may appeal against
        the penalty in accordance with the NDA’s disciplinary appeals procedure HRP14.
6.6     An employee who brings a complaint of harassment will not suffer victimisation for
        having brought the complaint. However, if the complaint is untrue and has been brought
        maliciously (eg out of spite), disciplinary action will be taken against the complainant.

7.0     Diversity

7.1     The NDA is committed to valuing and promoting Diversity in all areas of recruitment,
        employment, training and promotion. The NDA will work towards an environment that is
        based on meritocracy and inclusiveness, where all employees can develop their full
        potential, irrespective of their race, gender, marital status, age, disability, religious belief,
        political opinion, or sexual orientation. This policy applies to all employees.

7.2     What is Managing Diversity?

7.2.1 'Managing Diversity' is a more effective way of dealing with equal opportunities issues. It
      emphasises the business and personal benefits that accrue from valuing the differences
      between people, rather than just complying with the law.

7.3     Responsibilities & Definitions

7.3.1 Employer’s responsibility, The NDA will:
        •    comply with the letter and spirit of this policy

        •   value diversity in society and in our workforce as a means of broadening the NDA’s talent
            pool, achieving the highest levels of performance, and enabling all employees to reach
            their full potential

        •   identify the various behaviours and barriers that discrimination can take, and understand
            the negative effect these can have on the NDA and its' employees and stakeholders

        •   dispel the myth that only certain types of people are suitable for certain types of jobs
            or training



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7.3.2 Employee responsibility, employees will
        •   comply with the letter and spirit of this policy
        •   be aware of the various behaviours and barriers that discrimination can take,
            and understand the negative impact these can have on the NDA, stakeholders and
            colleagues
        •   be sensitive to the potential impact of your own behaviour on colleagues, stakeholders
            and job applicants
        •   co-operate with management in the elimination of any discriminatory practices which may
            be identified

8.0     Avoiding Assumptions

8.1     Care should be taken to ensure that decisions and actions are not influenced by
        stereotypical views. Examples of such assumptions are:
        • ethnic minorities lack qualifications
        • women with young children are less committed to their work
        • disabled employees are more likely to be sick than the average member of employees
        • older workers lack ambition and enthusiasm
        • part-timers are less committed to their work than full-timers

9.0     Recruitment and Selection

9.1     Every effort will be made to attract applications from all sections of society and to ensure
        fair treatment throughout the recruitment process. This will include:
        • checking that job and candidate specifications are relevant and non-discriminatory
        • ensuring that the wording and images used in job adverts reflect and appeal to ail
            sections of society
        • using advertising media that reach all sections of society
        • communicating our policy to recruitment and employment agencies
        • short-listing only those people whose skills and qualifications most closely match the
            candidate specification
        • asking fair and consistent questions at interview
        • keeping records of the recruitment and selection process, including interviews
        • monitoring recruitment and selection to ensure equality of opportunity throughout the
            process and, if necessary, taking steps to eliminate any discriminatory practices

10.0    Interviewing Technique


10.1    When interviewing job applicants they will be asked fair and consistent questions which
        focus on job and performance issues rather than the candidate's private life.



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10.2 Candidates will not be asked about their family commitments or medical history unless
     they are clearly relevant to the job and are asked of all candidates.


11.0    Promotion and Career Development

11.1    When making decisions on promotions and career development, managers will focus on
        employee as individuals, with particular talents and experiences, rather than make
        assumptions based on their race, gender, marital status, age, disability, religion, political
        opinion, belief or sexual orientation.

11.2    Where, for example, jobs have been undertaken mainly by one gender or race in the
        past, efforts should be made to encourage others to apply for these posts.

11.3    Flexible working, such as job-sharing, can also assist the NDA to retain the skills of valued
        employees who wish to continue their careers but who may have, for example, caring
        responsibilities outside of work.

12.0    Grievance and Discipline

12.1    If any employee believes that they have been unfairly discriminated against they should
        make a complaint using the NDA’s Grievance Procedure HRP14.

12.2 Likewise, if any employee is found to have breached the NDA’s Diversity Policy they may
     be subject to disciplinary action under the Disciplinary Procedure HRP14, which in serious
     cases may result in dismissal.

13.0    Duties of all Employees

13.1    All employees need to recognise that the purpose of this policy is to ensure a working
        environment that is free from harassment and intimidation. The best way to ensure this
        is to recognise at the earliest opportunity when things are going wrong and if at all
        possible raise the problem with the individual concerned.

13.2    If for any reason this is not possible they should request support of HR to help resolve
        the problem. It is important to note that unless the disciplinary rules have been breached
        the aim is to resolve the problem not allocate blame.

13.3    It is therefore particularly important that employees should not be tempted to proceed
        with unfounded or malicious complaints. Where a formal review is conducted it will
        examine and report on the behaviour and responsibility of all parties involved in the
        complaint.



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13.4    If any employee is a third party observer of an incident or incidents they should report
        their concerns to their line manager or the HR in the first instance.



14.0    Duties of Line Managers

14.1    All employees who have Line management responsibilities have a duty to eliminate any
        harassment or intimidation of which they are aware. Failure to take action to tackle
        harassment and bullying will be considered as a failure to fulfil all the responsibilities of
        their position. Further advice on tackling specific incidents of harassment and bullying is
        available from HR.

14.2    In particular it is important that Managers are aware of the impact of their behaviour on
        employees. Nothing in this policy should prevent legitimate constructive criticism of
        employees’ behaviour or performance, however it is important that Managers learn to
        identify where an employee is inappropriately adversely affected.




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