Equal Opportunities policy
Equal opportunities statement
Stoke Poges Parish Council is committed to promoting equal opportunities in employment and provision of services. You and any job applicants will receive equal treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (Protected Characteristics).
About this policy
- This policy sets out our approach to equal opportunities and the avoidance of discrimination at work or in provision of services. It applies to all aspects of employment with us and all aspects of provision of services by us.
- This policy has been agreed and implemented by the Parish Councillors.
- This policy covers all services, Parish Councillors employees, officers, consultants, contractors, volunteers, interns, casual workers and agency workers.
- This policy does not form part of any employee's contract of employment, or any provision of services agreement and we may amend it at any time.
Who is responsible for this policy?
- The Parish Councillors have overall responsibility for the effective operation of this policy and for ensuring compliance with discrimination law. Day-to-day operational responsibility for this policy, including regular review of this policy, has been delegated to the Clerk.
- All members of the Parish Council must set an appropriate standard of behaviour, lead by example and ensure that those they manage adhere to the policy and promote our aims and objectives with regard to equal opportunities. Members will be given appropriate training on equal opportunities awareness and equal opportunities recruitment and selection best practice. The Clerk has overall responsibility for equal opportunities training.
- If you are involved in the provision of services, management or recruitment, or if you have any questions about the content or application of this policy, you should contact the Clerk to request training or further information.
- This policy is reviewed annually by The Parish Council.
- Staff are invited to comment on this policy and suggest ways in which it might be improved by contacting the Clerk.
- You must not unlawfully discriminate against or harass other people including current and former Councillors, stakeholders, employees, job applicants, clients, customers, suppliers and visitors. This applies in the workplace, outside the workplace (when dealing with customers, suppliers or other work-related contacts), and on work-related trips or events including social events.
- The following forms of discrimination are prohibited under this policy and are unlawful:
- Direct discrimination: treating someone less favourably because of a Protected Characteristic. For example, rejecting a job applicant because of their religious views or because they might be gay.
- Indirect discrimination: a provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone but adversely affects people with a particular Protected Characteristic more than others, and is not justified. For example, requiring a job to be done full-time rather than part-time would adversely affect women because they generally have greater childcare commitments than men. Such a requirement would be discriminatory unless it can be justified.
- Harassment: this includes sexual harassment and other unwanted conduct related to a Protected Characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. Harassment is dealt with further in our Anti-harassment and Bullying Policy.
- Victimisation: retaliation against someone who has complained or has supported someone else's complaint about discrimination or harassment.
- Disability discrimination: this includes direct and indirect discrimination, any unjustified less favourable treatment because of the effects of a disability, and failure to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate substantial disadvantages caused by a disability.
Recruitment and selection
- Recruitment, promotion, provision of services and other selection exercises such as redundancy and grant selection will be conducted on the basis of merit, against objective criteria that avoid discrimination. Shortlisting should be done by more than one person and with the involvement of the Parish Councillors, where possible. Our recruitment procedures should be reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities.
- Where services or vacancies are advertised, advertisements should avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage particular groups from applying.
- Applicants should not be asked questions which might suggest an intention to discriminate on grounds of a Protected Characteristic. For example, applicants should not be asked whether they are pregnant or planning to have children.
Training and promotion and conditions of service
Training needs will be identified through regular appraisals. Appropriate access to training will be given to all within the organisation and all promotion and provision of services decisions will be made on the basis of merit.
Termination of employment or provision of services
- We will ensure that redundancy criteria and procedures are fair and objective and are not directly or indirectly discriminatory.
- We will ensure that decisions to stop or redirect services are fair and objective and are not directly or indirectly discriminatory.
- We will also ensure that disciplinary procedures and penalties are applied without discrimination, whether they result in disciplinary warnings, dismissal or other action (whether disciplinary or otherwise).
- If you are disabled or become disabled, we encourage you to tell us about your condition so that we can support you as appropriate.
- If you experience difficulties at work because of your disability, you may wish to contact the Parish Councillors to discuss any reasonable adjustments that would help overcome or minimise the difficulty. The Parish Councillors may wish to consult with you and your medical adviser about possible adjustments. We will consider the matter carefully and try to accommodate your needs within reason. If we consider a particular adjustment would not be reasonable we will explain our reasons and try to find an alternative solution where possible.
- We will monitor the physical features of our premises to consider whether they might place anyone with a disability at a substantial disadvantage. Where necessary, we will take reasonable steps to improve access.
Part-time and fixed-term work
Part-time and fixed-term staff should be treated the same as comparable full-time or permanent staff and enjoy no less favourable terms and conditions (on a pro-rata basis where appropriate), unless different treatment is justified.
Breaches of this policy
- We take a strict approach to breaches of this policy, which will be dealt with by the Parish Councillors.
- If you believe you have suffered discrimination you can raise the matter with the Parish Councillors. Complaints will be treated in confidence and investigated as appropriate.
- There must be no victimisation or retaliation against staff or Councillors who complain about discrimination. However, making a false allegation deliberately and in bad faith will be treated as misconduct and dealt with by the Parish Councillors.