Equality & Diversity Policy


Policy Statement

LIMA is committed to encouraging diversity and eliminating discrimination in both its role as an employer and as a provider of services. LIMA aims to create a culture that respects and values each other’s differences, that promotes dignity, equality and diversity, and that encourages individuals to develop and maximise their true potential. We are committed wherever possible to achieving and maintaining a workforce that broadly reflects the local community in which we operate.

Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment and in the provision of services and not to discriminate on the grounds of gender, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion or age.

LIMA opposes all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination.

All employees, trustees and volunteers, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training, volunteering or any other benefit will be on the basis of skills and ability.

Principles

LIMA’s commitment to Equality and Diversity is:

  • To create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all our employees, trustees and volunteers are recognised and valued.

  • To create a working environment that promotes dignity and respect for all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.

  • To ensure training, development and progression opportunities are available to all.

  • To promote equality in the workplace, which it believes is good management practice and makes sound business sense.

  • To regularly review all employment and volunteering practices and procedures to ensure that no job applicants, staff, trustees or volunteers are treated less favourably than others.

  • To regularly review services to ensure they are accessible and appropriate to all groups within society.

  • To treat breaches of the equality policy seriously and to take disciplinary action when required.

  • To provide information and training to all employees, trustees and volunteers so that they are fully aware of the issues relating to Equality and Diversity and their responsibilities relating to it.

  • To develop an Equality Action plan, to ensure our Equality and Diversity policy is fully implemented.

  • To ensure the policy is fully supported by the Executive Committee.

  • To monitor and review the policy annually.

Positive action

LIMA will act positively in using the Equality and Diversity Policy as a means of making public its commitment to provide equal opportunities to all present and future employees, trustees and volunteers.

LIMA encourages all employees to apply for suitable opportunities and to seek training for promotion or in particular skills.

Training in Equality and Diversity is provided as part of the Induction Programme.

Any form of discrimination by an employee, trustee or volunteer is treated very seriously and where appropriate will be dealt with using the Disciplinary Procedure.

Positive Discrimination

Positive discrimination is illegal and the recruitment of 'quotas' of particular groups is also illegal. Discrimination in selection to achieve or secure a balance of persons of different racial groups is also not allowed under the Race Relations Act 1976.

There is an exception, however, which may be appropriate for certain posts in LIMA, i.e. when a genuine occupational qualification (GOQ) is necessary or desirable for a particular group or sex. Both the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 allow these exceptions.

Recruitment

Care will be taken to ensure that job descriptions are not discriminatory on the grounds quoted in the Policy Statement.

This policy is circulated to the agencies responsible for our recruitment.

Applications and short listing

All applicants will be asked to fill out an application form which contains only information essential and relevant to the appointment. Different formats will be made available.

Short listing will be performed on the basis of objective criteria and the extent to which candidates have shown, in the application form that they meet the required Person Specification, and can carry out tasks and responsibilities required of the post-holder. Formal qualifications and standards of literacy and numeracy will only be taken into account when they are recognised as necessary for a particular job.

Short listed candidates will be invited to an interview. Staff and members of the Management Team responsible for short-listing, interviewing and selection of candidates will be:

  • Clearly informed of selection criteria and the need for their consistent application;

  • Given guidance on the effects which generalised assumptions about people from groups quoted in the Policy Statement can have on selection decisions;

  • Made aware of the possible misunderstandings that can occur between persons from different cultural backgrounds

Interviewing

The questions asked will seek to gather objective evidence in support of the job description and person specification. The same questions will be asked of all candidates applying for the job.

Disabled candidates will be asked if they need support during the interview process or adjustments should they be offered the position.

Notes will be taken and evidence gathered against the job description and person specification.8 DBS Policy

For certain positions we will request enhanced disclosures for all employees, trustees and volunteers. This requirement will be clearly stated in the application pack.

Induction and training

All employees, trustees and volunteers will be required to follow an appropriate induction process to ensure they are equipped to do the job.

All employees, trustees and volunteers will receive training on the Equality and Diversity policy, procedures and action plan as part of their induction.

Recruitment Monitoring

All applicants will be asked to complete an anonymous monitoring form as part of the application pack (to be returned in a separate envelope).

The 2001 Census categories will be used in order to monitor ethnicity of staff (as recommended by the Commission for Racial Equality). An additional category for Gypsy and Travellers will be included.

The monitoring form will monitor age, race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, marital status, disability. Recruitment statistics will be produced on an annual basis and presented to the Executive Committee.

Flexible working

LIMA will consider all requests for flexible working arrangements constructively and creatively, taking account of the balancing the needs of the organisation with the needs of the individual employee.

LIMA will offer a range of flexible working arrangements and will work collaboratively to identify solutions that suit both the individual and the organisation

Promotion

All vacancies will be advertised internally and externally, where appropriate.

Training

All employees, trustees and volunteers have access to a wide range of training opportunities. (See also Training Policy).

Special needs and requirements for people with disabilities or caring responsibilities will be taken into account whenever possible and methods sought to help them overcome disabilities in taking up training opportunities.

Staff with management, recruitment and selection responsibilities will be given guidance in the implementation of the Equal and Diversity Policy to ensure that they understand their position in law and under the Organisation's policy.

Induction training will include an explanation of the Equal Opportunities Policy and a requirement to undertake formal training within the probationary period of employment

Annual Leave and Religious Holidays

LIMA will not ask about an employee’s religion and will not discriminate against anyone wishing to celebrate their festivals. Employees are required to use part of their annual holiday entitlement to cover time off for these and must follow the normal holiday booking procedure.

Cultural and religious needs

Where employees, trustees or volunteers have particular cultural and religious needs, LIMA will consider whether it is practical to meet these needs while maintaining the efficiency of the business.

People with disabilities

LIMA will make genuine efforts to recruit people with disabilities and take reasonable steps to make the workplace and individual jobs accessible to people with disabilities.

LIMA will regularly review its facilities for disabled employees, trustees and volunteers and will try to overcome any problems faced wherever possible and within reasonable resources available.

LIMA will ensure that people have maximum access to employment opportunities and to meetings and events, regardless of any disability.

Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures

LIMA will take seriously any complaints of discrimination and will not victimise people who make such complaints.

Staff will be made aware as part of the induction process of their responsibilities in relation to Equality and Diversity and that discriminatory behaviour will be fully investigated and dealt with using the Disciplinary Procedure.

Bullying and Harassment

LIMA upholds the right of all employees and volunteers to be treated with respect and dignity and to work in an atmosphere free of bullying and harassment.

All employees and volunteers are responsible for ensuring that their own behaviour is sensitive to others and for ensuring that they do not condone or support the bullying or harassing behaviour of others.

All complaints of bullying and harassment will be treated seriously and should be raised using the Grievance Procedure. All complaints will be investigated and where appropriate, the

Disciplinary Procedures will be followed.

Monitoring

Monitoring the workforce

Employees, trustees and volunteers will be asked to fill out a monitoring form on appointment.

The monitoring forms will be reviewed on an annual basis and statistics presented to the Management Team.

Responsibility

It is the Director’s responsibility with the support of the Management Team to ensure the implementation of the Equality and Diversity Policy. Appropriate funds will be sought to implement approved aspects of the Policy which require special and additional resources.

All employees, trustees and volunteers have the individual responsibility to:

  • Follow procedures introduced to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination;

  • To draw the attention of management to suspected or alleged discriminatory practices;

  • To refrain from harassing or intimidating other employees, trustees or volunteers, clients or visitors of LIMA on any of the grounds cited in the policy statement.