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NORTH EAST STRATEGIC HEALTH AUTHORITY POLICY AND PROCEDURE Equal Opportunities Version control reference version 1.0 Approved by Management Team Date approved Monday 6th August 2007 Date to be reviewed August 2010 Author/owner Chief Executive Link/s with the NHS North This policy and procedure applies to all East vision, if applicable aspects of the vision. Communication plan Chief executives briefing, intranet and email notification Accessibility checklist Yes completed The content of this policy and procedure document may be disclosed in response to a request for access under the Freedom of Information Act. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 1. POLICY STATEMENT All employees have a right to equal opportunity. This policy has been developed to ensure that all employees of the North East Strategic Health Authority (SHA) are treated equally and not discriminated against because of their race, colour, gender, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation, social status, responsibility for dependents, political or trade union affiliations, religion or nationality. This policy also includes discrimination against employees on the basis of their HIV status and those who may be diagnosed with cancer or multiple sclerosis as described in the amended Disability Discrimination Act 2004. It is essential that all managers, staff and trade unions/staff associations are fully committed to the principles and accept personal responsibility for practical application of the policy. This policy contains positive measures to prevent, as far as possible, not only overt acts of discrimination but also conditions and requirements which might have a discriminatory effect. It will enable the authority to ensure, as far as possible, that there is now unlawful direct or indirect discrimination. It will also aid the development of good employment practices in respect of all employees. 2. SCOPE This policy covers all staff and contractors working within the North East Strategic Health Authority 3. NATIONAL CONTEXT The Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions handbook provides detailed information on Equality and Diversity for all staff. All job descriptions should include compliance with Equality and Diversity. Everyone who works in the NHS, or applies to work in the NHS, should be treated fairly and valued equally. 4 LEGAL CONTEXT The North East Strategic Health Authority will regularly review its policies, procedures and practices to ensure that they accord with the principles of equal opportunity for all, and are consistently applied. The policy is informed by the: • The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 • The Race Relations Act 1976 • The Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 in particular the duty to promote race equality • The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 • The Disability Discrimination Act 2005 • The Equal Pay Act 1970 • The Human Rights Act 1998 • The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006 • Other Acts of Parliament, Circulars, Codes of Practice or case law concerning equality that apply to the service or policy under review 5 DEFINITIONS 5.1 In this policy ‘discrimination’ means where a person is treated less favourably on grounds of gender, martial status, disability, race, colour, age, ethnic or national origins or religion. 5.2 Indirect discrimination occurs when a requirement or condition is applied to people equally but has the effect, in practice, of disadvantaging a considerably higher proportion of one group than the other. 5.3 Victimisation occurs if someone is given less favourable treatment than others because he/she has exercised his/her right under the policy or the relevant legislation, for example, by making a complaint or providing information on discrimination. 5.4 Harassment is any behaviour directed at an individual that is found to be offensive to the recipient and might threaten the employee's job security or create an intimidating environment. Sexual harassment is any uninvited, unreciprocated and unwelcome behaviour of a sexual nature which is offensive to the person involved and causes that person to feel threatened, humiliated or embarrassed. 6 PROCEDURE 6.1 RESPONSIBILITIES FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES 6.2 Directors of the SHA (Lead Director responsible for Equality and Diversity) The Directors have overall responsibility for the introduction, operation and monitoring of the policy on behalf of the Strategic Health Authority. It is their responsibility to ensure:- • the policy is properly implemented • staff receive proper guidance and training • adequate records are established • monitoring and evaluation information is made available as appropriate • follow-up action is taken as necessary • ensure a zero tolerance approach to harassment is adopted in the workplace • further guidelines for monitoring purposes are attached as Appendix 1 6.2 Line Managers Line managers are responsible for ensuring:- • all employees are aware of their responsibilities, the law and authority’s policy on equal opportunities • staff receive appropriate guidance and training • staff members concerns are dealt with in a fair and consistent manner • proper records of employment decisions are maintained and regular reviews carried out of employment practices • responsible for promoting equality in relation to the Race, Disability and Gender Equality Schemes 6.3 All Staff All staff are responsible for their personal involvement in the practical application of this policy. In particular staff will:- • participate and co-operate in the implementation, operation and monitoring of the policy, • not discriminate in their day-to-day activities nor induce or attempt to induce others to do so, • not victimise, harass or intimidate other staff or groups of staff, • inform line managers if they suspect discrimination is taking place • staff are responsible for attending appropriate training • utilise other relevant policies such as “grievance” policy where appropriate APPENDIX I Equal Opportunities Policy Monitoring Guidelines 1 Have a policy statement, communicated to all employees and new entrants setting out top level commitment to equal opportunity in recruitment and promotion, training and development, and all aspects of employment practice. Emphasise benefits of policy to organisation and all employees, and identify member of top management accountable for its implementation. 2 Develop an action plan, setting measurable goals, including numerical targets, and timetables, and accountability for achieving them. Monitor progress on a regular basis; review and update action plan in the light of findings. 3 Monitor ethnic composition of workforce by grade, department, specialism, location; as appropriate; identify areas of under- representation and possible barriers to equal opportunity and take action to address these. 4 Monitor effect of employment policies and procedures, such as advertising, recruitment, promotion, take up of training and development opportunities, performance and promotability assessments, performance pay, disciplinary action, redundancy and redeployment, resignations and the reasons for them, grievances relating to discrimination and/or harassment. Analyse information and take action to identify and address possible barriers to equal opportunities. 5 Train all staff and key decision makers, such as managers and those involved in selection, in their equal opportunity responsibilities under the organisation’s policy and the legislation. 6 Ensure fair selection by advertising jobs to all sections of the community, drawing up job related, non discriminatory selection criteria, against which selectors are trained to assess candidates in a fair and consistent manner. Use only tests which are valid for different racial groups and the work in question. 7 Consider positive action encouragement and training, as permitted under Sections 37 and 38 of the Race Relations Act 1976, to help encourage and or prepare people from particular racial groups take up work in which they are under represented. Consider, too, training to cover the identified special needs of particular racial groups in relation to their education, training or welfare. 8 Consider the organisation’s equal opportunity image as reflected in the workforce, recruitment literature, choice of media for recruitment advertising, links with colleges, schools and local community groups. 9 Ensure there are fair and effective policies and procedures for handling complaints of discrimination and harassment, which are known to all employees. 10 Make discrimination and harassment a disciplinary offence leading, in serious cases, to dismissal.
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