UK Equal Opportunities Policy

Policy principles

LAL is committed to ensuring that all employees, job applicants, customers/clients and other people with whom we deal are treated fairly and are not subjected to unfair or unlawful discrimination.

Our policy is designed to ensure that current and potential workers are offered the same opportunities regardless of a protected characteristic (sex, race, age, religion or belief, sexual orientation, disability, marital status or civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, gender reassignment) or indeed any other characteristic unrelated to the performance of the job. We seek to ensure that no one suffers, either directly or indirectly, as a result of unlawful discrimination. This extends beyond the individual’s own characteristics, to cover discrimination by association and by perception.

We recognise that an effective equal opportunity policy will help all employees to develop to their full potential, which is clearly in the best interests of both employees and our business. We aim to ensure that we not only observe the relevant legislation but also do whatever is necessary to provide genuine equality of opportunity.

We expect everyone who works for us to be treated and to treat others with respect. Our aim is to provide a working environment free from harassment, intimidation, or discrimination in any form that may affect the dignity of the individual.

We further recognise the benefits of employing individuals from a range of backgrounds, as this creates a workforce where creativity and valuing difference in others thrives. We value the wealth of experience within the community in which we operate and aspire to have a workforce that reflects this.

Definitions

Discrimination may be direct or indirect, and can take different forms, for example:

  • treating an individual less favorably than others on grounds of a protected characteristic (sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, marital status or civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity or gender reassignment)
  • expecting a person, solely on the grounds stated above, to comply with requirements that are different to the requirements for others, for any reason whatsoever
  • imposing on an individual requirements that are in effect more onerous than they are on others. This would include applying a condition (which is not warranted by the requirements of the position) which makes it more difficult for members of a particular group to comply than others not of that group
  • harassment, i.e. unwanted conduct which has “the purpose, intentionally or unintentionally, of violating dignity, or which creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment” for the individual
  • victimisation, i.e. treating a person less favorably because he or she has committed a “protected act”. “Protected acts” include previous legal proceedings brought against the employer or the perpetrator, or the giving of evidence at a disciplinary or grievance hearing or at tribunal, or making complaints about the perpetrator or the employer or their alleged discriminatory practices.
  • discrimination by association, i.e. someone is discriminated against because they associate with someone who possesses a protected characteristic
  • discrimination by perception, i.e. discrimination on the grounds that the person is perceived as belonging to a particular group (e.g. sexual orientation, religion or belief), irrespective of whether or not this is correct
  • any other act or omission of an act, which has the effect of disadvantaging one person against another, purely on the above grounds.

Responsibility

Managers and supervisors have a crucial role to play in promoting equality of opportunity in their own areas of responsibility.

All employees, irrespective of their job or seniority, will be given guidance and instruction, through our induction and other training, as to their responsibility and role in promoting equality of opportunity and not discriminating unfairly or harassing colleagues, job applicants or ex-employees, nor encouraging others to do so or tolerating such behaviour. Disciplinary action, including dismissal, may be taken against any employee found guilty of unfair discrimination or harassment. Employees should be aware that not only is the employer liable for any cases of discrimination or harassment that occur, but individuals also may be held personally liable for their own acts and behaviour.

Recruitment and selection

Selection will be conducted on an objective basis and will focus on the applicants’ suitability for the job and their ability to fulfill the job requirements. Our interest is in the skills, abilities, qualifications, aptitude and the potential of individuals to do their jobs. Person specifications will be reviewed to ensure that criteria are not applied which are discriminatory, either directly or indirectly, and that they do not impose any condition or requirement which cannot be justified by the demands of the post. Questions asked of candidates will relate to information that will help us to assess their ability to do the job. Questions about marriage plans, family intentions, religious or political commitments, caring responsibilities, intention to join our pension scheme or to opt out, or about any other issues which may give rise to suspicions of unlawful discrimination should not be asked. Selection tests will be specifically related to the job and measure an individual’s actual, or inherent, ability to do or train for the job.

Job adverts should encourage applications from all types of candidates and should not be stereotyped.

Training and development

LAL recognises that equal opportunity responsibilities do not end at selection, and is committed to ensure that wherever possible all employees receive the widest possible range of development opportunities for advancement.

All employees will be encouraged to discuss their career prospects and training needs with their manager. Opportunities for promotion and training will be communicated and made available to everyone on a fair and equal basis.

The provision of training will be reviewed to ensure that all employees are able to benefit from training.

No age limits apply for entry to training or development schemes – these are open to all employees.

Terms and conditions of employment

We will ensure that all of our policies and any other relevant issues associated with terms and conditions of employment, are formulated and applied without regard to a protected characteristic (sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion or belief, age, marital status or civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, gender reassignment) or indeed any other characteristic unrelated to the performance of the job.

These will be reviewed regularly to ensure there is no discrimination. Length of service as a qualifying criterion for benefits will not exceed five years unless clearly justifiable. Employees will not be subjected to any detriment if they wish to join our pension scheme, nor will they be offered any inducement not to do so. This would include refusing promotion or training to someone who decided not to opt-out, or refusing or reducing a pay increase if it would bring the worker within the band of earnings that would make him/her eligible for auto-enrolment etc.

Grievances, disputes and disciplinary procedure

Employees who believe they have been discriminated against and have not been able to resolve this informally are advised to use our internal grievance procedure. An employee who brings a complaint of discrimination must not be less favorably treated. Bullying or harassment will not be tolerated, and any individual who feels that they have been subjected to bullying or harassment should refer to our bullying and harassment policy. Equally, anyone who witnesses incidents of bullying or harassment should report this to their manager or an appropriate senior member of staff.

When dealing with general disciplinary matters, care is to be taken that employees who have, are perceived to have, or are associated with someone who has, a protected characteristic are not dismissed or disciplined for performance or behaviour which could be overlooked or condoned in other employees.

References

We will not discriminate against individuals who have left our organisation by providing references that are not based on factual information nor fail to provide one based on a protected characteristic.

Retirement

We have no fixed retirement age and anyone who wishes to work beyond State Pension Age may choose to do so.

HR policies and procedures

Our HR policies and procedures will be reviewed regularly to improve, amend or adapt current practices to promote equality of opportunity within our business.

Relevant data will be collected to support this. Personal details provided by employees or job applicants for the purposes of equal opportunity monitoring are confidential, will be kept apart from all other records and not used for any other purpose.