Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy
Stephen Rimmer LLP is a diverse organisation that values diversity and recognises the fact that people with different backgrounds, skills, attitudes and experiences bring fresh ideas and perceptions.
As a diverse organisation we will encourage and harness differences to make our services relevant and our organisation approachable, drawing upon the widest possible range of views and experiences.
Stephen Rimmer LLP commits itself to adaptand embrace the employment of a variety of individuals. Webelieve that diversityenriches the organisation and value the independent knowledge and experience that this delivers. Indoing so,Stephen Rimmer LLP undertakes to manage, celebrate and promote such diversity by means of focussing on the continual development of all individuals.
In seeking to manage diversity we commit to counterbalance any prejudice against a wide range of personal differences, such as:
trade union membership.
physical and mental abilities,
health including mental illness
gender, gender reassignment
spent or irrelevant convictions
academic or vocational qualification,
Stephen Rimmer LLP recognises that a diverse workforce will result in greater creativity, improve decision making and have a team of happier staff who stay longer and benefit from organisational opportunities.
The members and staffat Stephen Rimmer LLP are committed to implementing this policy and to promoting its aims within the wider communities in which we operate. Stephen Rimmer LLP is devoted to a programme of action in order to make this policy fully effective. Any breach of this policy may be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure
Equal Opportunities Policy Statement
Stephen Rimmer LLP wishes it to be known that it is an equal opportunities organisation.
This means that:
a. In the provision of our services and employment of staff to provide these services, Stephen Rimmer LLP will seek to ensure equality of opportunity and treatment for all persons.
b. No person or group of persons applying for services, or for a job, or for contracts with Stephen Rimmer LLP will be treated less favourably than any other person or groups of persons because of their sex, race, class, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age, trade union membership or activity, religious belief, or physical or mental disability.
c. In carrying out its equal opportunities and diversity policy Stephen Rimmer LLP will actively assist disadvantaged groups to benefit from its services.
d. In selecting suppliers and other bodies to work for it, Stephen Rimmer LLP will actively pursue its commitment to equality of opportunity and diversity.
Equal Opportunities Code of Practice
The aim of this code of practice is to ensure that no job applicant, employee, member, contractor or tenderer receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of sex, race, class, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age, trade union membership or activity, religious belief, or physical or mental disability.
This Code of Practice covers:
Responsibilities of Stephen Rimmer LLP.
Responsibilities of employees
Responsibilities of members
Selection and recruitment
Grievance & disciplinary procedures
Child responsibility leave
1. That no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment than another on the grounds of their sex, race, class, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, age, trade union membership or activity, religious belief, or physical or mental disability.
2. That no applicant or employee be placed at a disadvantage by requirements, qualifications or conditions which have a disproportionately adverse effect on their particular group and which cannot be verified as valid in terms of the job to be done.
3. That each individual will be assessed according to their ability to meet the requirements of a given job. It should not be assumed that men or women are more suitable for certain kinds of work.
4. That there should be continual training and encouragement to achieve equality of opportunity within the organisation.
5. To foster an atmosphere of mutual respect which recognises and accepts diversity within Stephen Rimmer LLP
6. To set aside educational and status differences, and build an enduring organisation based on competence, fairness and relevant abilities.
What responsibilities does Stephen Rimmer LLP have as an employer?
Stephen Rimmer LLP has a legal obligation to ensure that it and its employees do not discriminate. Our responsibilities can best be met by an equal opportunity and diversity policy that is effectively monitored to ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination and that equal opportunity is genuinely available.
Stephen Rimmer LLP will adapt as necessary to embrace different individuals. We view all diversity as enriching the organisation and to value the knowledge and experience that this delivers.
What responsibilities do you have as an employee?
Whilst the overall responsibility for ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination in the workplace rests mainly with Stephen Rimmer LLP, individual employees at all levels also have responsibilities.
Good employee relations and practice depend on employees as well as managers and attitudes and activities are of crucial importance. In particular, you should:
1. Co-operate with measures introduced to ensure equal opportunity and non-discrimination.
2. Treat all colleagues in a fair and non-discriminatory way, respecting differences.
3. Not discriminate e.g. as someone responsible for selection decisions in recruitment, promotion, transfer, training, performance or reward.
4. Treat all tenders and contractual relationships with fairness and equality.
5. Not induce or attempt to induce others to practice unlawful discrimination.
6. Not victimise or attempt to victimise individuals on the grounds that they have made complaints or provided information on discrimination.
7. Not harass, abuse or intimidate other employees, for example by behaving in ways that will discourage them from continuing their employment
8. Inform your manager or the Personnel Manager if you believe that any form of discrimination has taken place.
What responsibilities do you have as a member?
Whilst the overall responsibility for ensuring that there is no discrimination in the work place rests with Stephen Rimmer LLP, individual members at all levels have certain responsibilities.
To ensure that all feel able to participate fully in Stephen Rimmer LLP and have pride in their association with Stephen Rimmer LLP members should:
1. Co-operate with measures introduced to promote diversity and equality of opportunity and ensure non-discrimination.
2. Treat all other members in a fair and non-discriminatory way, respecting differences.
3. Be aware of the leadership role conveyed in being a Member, Solicitor or any other employee with particular regard to equal treatment
4. Be committed to the highest possible participation of all members in the activities of Stephen Rimmer LLP by familiarising themselves with behavioural guidelines issued. In particular members should:
Listen to others and avoid being dismissive of their contributions, regardless of whether or not you are in agreement
Not interrupt speakers or their thought processes whilst they are speaking
Aim for reasoned debate rather than confrontation
Ensure that any necessary criticism is constructive and seeks to help others to develop their skills, knowledge and confidence
Seek to be clear, concise and inclusive rather than attempting to dominate any discussion, ensuring that everyone is encouraged to speak
Equal Opportunities Definitions
Direct discrimination takes place when a person is treated less favourably than another (in the same circumstances) on grounds such as but not limited to race, colour, national or ethnic origin, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, class, age or religious belief.
Indirect discrimination means applying a condition, or requirement which adversely affects one particular group considerably more than another, and cannot be strictly justified in terms of the requirements for performing the job.
Discrimination on the grounds of colour, race, nationality (including citizenship), ethnic or national origins. The policy is directed towards the effects of racial discrimination in employment, as set down in the Race Relations Act 1976.
Discrimination on the grounds of a person’s sex or marital status. Stephen Rimmer LLP is committed to countering discrimination against women in all its forms including the recognition that employment practices should acknowledge the demands of childcare and the care of other dependants.
Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation
Discrimination on the grounds of not being heterosexual. Stephen Rimmer LLP acknowledges that discrimination against lesbians and gay men is more complicated by the fact that lesbians and gay men are not necessarily identifiable. We remain committed to acknowledging different sexualities and supporting job applicants and employees to be open about their sexual orientation. All Stephen Rimmer LLP jobs will therefore be open to lesbians and gay men.
Discrimination on the Grounds of Religion
Where the employees have particular cultural or religious needs which may conflict with existing work requirements. Stephen Rimmer LLP will consider whether it is reasonably practicable to vary or adopt these requirements to enable any such need to be met.
Although the Race Relations Act does not specifically cover religious discrimination, such requirements would generally be unlawful if they have a disproportionate adverse affect on particular racial groups and cannot be shown to be justifiable.
Discrimination on the Grounds of Class
In the area of recruitment and promotion, all stated entry requirements must be clearly justifiable in terms of the principal functions of the post. Any skills specified should be strictly relevant to the requirements of the job. These should not be unnecessarily restrictive so as to exclude any disadvantaged group or class.
The SDA 1975 outlaws direct and indirect discrimination and victimization on grounds of gender, i.e. male or female and on grounds of marital status. The Act was amended on 1 May 1999 by the Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999, which make discrimination on the basis of gender reassignment (transsexualism) unlawful in the areas of employment and vocational training.
Transsexualism is a desire to live and be accepted as a member of the opposite sex, usually accompanied by a sense of discomfort with, or inappropriateness of, one’s anatomic sex and a wish to have hormonal treatment and surgery to make one’s body as congruent as possible with the preferred sex. (International Classification of Disorders)
The procedure of hormonal treatment and surgery that transsexuals seek is called gender reassignment.
The condition is to be distinguished from being a transvestite. Transvestites wear the clothes of the opposite sex as a temporary experience, but are content with their birth sex and are not accepted for hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery.
Harassment is defined as: unwanted conduct which violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive working environment for that person. The courts have provided three further guidelines, as follows.
- Harassment is normally characterised by more than one incident of unacceptable behaviour, particularly if it reoccurs once it has been made clear that the recipient regards the behaviour as offensive. However, just one incident may constitute harassment if it is sufficiently serious.
- Each employee is free to decide what behaviour is either acceptable or unacceptable. So, it does not matter what the harasser thinks, or indeed what other colleagues may think. If the employee being subjected to the behaviour finds it unacceptable and she or he feels damaged or harmed by it, this constitutes harassment.
- Silence is not necessarily acceptance of one individual’s behaviour towards another. In many cases, victims may be reluctant to complain because, for example, of the seniority of the harasser, fear of the consequences in terms of their job security or the fear that no one will believe them.
Although there is no specific legislation outlawing bullying in the UK, bullying can lead to claims of unfair constructive dismissal against the employer. Bullying is a gradual wearing down process that makes individuals feel demeaned and inadequate. In order to solve the problem of workplace bullying, it has to be recognized. A working definition of bullying is:
Any unsolicited or unwelcome act, which humiliates, intimidates or undermines the individual involved and which is aimed at making that person feel worthless.
It is for each individual to determine what is acceptable to him or her and what he or she regards as offensive. Stephen Rimmer LLP will not condone any harassment/bullying of any employee and is committed to grievance and disciplinary procedures that will provide the appropriate redress.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination and is unlawful. It occurs in a variety of situations which all share a common aspect, the inappropriate introduction of sexual activities or comments into the work situation. All employees have the right to work in an environment free from sexual intimidation.
Sexual harassment takes 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 behaviour of a sexual nature by one employee towards another such as:
insensitive jokes and pranks
unnecessary and unwelcome physical contact, touching or patting
suggestive and unwelcome comments or gestures emphasising the sexual orientation of an individual or of a group
unwelcome or derogatory remarks regarding the sexual orientation or preference of an individual or a group, including speculation about a person’s private life and sexual activities
unwelcome requests for social-sexual encounters or favours
display of pornographic pictures
acts such as indecent exposure or sexual assault
Sexual harassment occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, or for social life
Racial harassment is difficult to define in terms of what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour, but may be defined as a hostile or offensive act or expression by a person or group of one ethnic origin against a person or group of another, or incitement to commit such an act, on racial grounds. Such behaviour includes:
Insults and racist jokes.
Ridicule of an individual for cultural differences.
Exclusion from conversations, normal work activities or social events.
Unfair allocation of work or responsibilities.
Racist graffiti or insignia.
Displaying abusive writing and pictures
Verbal abuse or threats.
Racial harassment occurs when any such behaviour creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for employment, or for social life. Differences of attitude or culture and the misinterpretation of social signals can mean that what is perceived as racial harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining features, however, are that the behaviour is offensive or intimidating to the recipient and would be regarded as racial harassment by any reasonable person.
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defines "disabled person" as a person with "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities" (S1).
Any Stephen Rimmer LLP employee who suffers harassment will have the full support of Stephen Rimmer LLP in putting a stop to it. Anyone who experiences or witnesses an incident of harassment should not wait until the situation reaches an intolerable level - action taken at once can be quickly effective. Stephen Rimmer LLP will also support members and staff against false accusations of harassment, bullying, intimidation and unfairness.
Family Friendly Policies for staff
These cover the areas of: Maternity, Adoption, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave, Childcare Allowance, Time off for Dependents (Emergency Carer’s Leave), Compassionate Leave and Leave for Fertility Treatment.
Equal Opportunities ‘Putting policy’ into practice
Without practice, policy is worse than meaningless. It suggests that people know what to do but do not have the commitment to do it.
The members will take views from a cross section of staff from time to time and decide if any changes need to be instigated to meet the commitments to the Equal opportunity policy.