Equality, Diversity & Inclusion

Introduction

The Company is committed to a culture of equality of opportunity and valuing diversity. The Company will ensure the employment practices that are implemented are free from unfair an unlawful discrimination and that through behaviour, language, attitude, and actions no discriminatory practices occur.

This policy wil apply in respect of recruitment and selection procedures, career development, promotion, training, payment practices, and al other terms and conditions of employment.

Whilst the ultimate accountability for the implementation of this policy lies with the Chief Executive Officer, it is the responsibility of each employee at every level to promote equality of opportunity, to value the people they encounter as part of their daily work and to treat others with dignity and respect.

All employees, workers, or self-employed contractors whether part time, full time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training, or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. Al employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the Company.

It is our commitment to ensure that no employee or job applicant is treated less favourably or suffers any harassment because of discrimination whether directly, indirectly, through victimisation or harassment. Failure of any employee to observe the principles laid out in this policy will become subject to the company disciplinary procedure and may result in breaches of the law.

Equality Act

The Equality Act 2010 replaced and harmonised previous legislation and was introduced to ensure that workplace environments were fair and to comply with the law.

It covers the same groups that were protected by existing equality legislation – age, disability, race, sex, gender reassignment, religion or belief, sexual orientation, marriage and civil partnership and pregnancy and maternity. These are now cal ed and referred to as “protected characteristics”.

Additionally, the company shall not discriminate against an employee or worker based on “associative” links for example, where the employee or worker has a child who is disabled.

Sex Discrimination

The company will not discriminate on grounds of gender, marriage, or civil partnership; because someone intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment.

Same sex marriages are permissible in law and the company shall not discriminate in any way in respect of couples in a same sex marriage.

The company shall not tolerate sexual harassment, which is harassment of a ‘sexual nature’, nor shall it tolerate ‘sex-related harassment’ which is unwanted conduct related to an individual’s sex or that of another person. This shall therefore include al owing a working environment where sexual banter is commonplace and which, although not directed at an individual or caused by their presence, may nevertheless create an offensive environment for that person. Nor will the Company tolerate any person who finds themselves being treated less favourably or differently because they refused to tolerate the sexual harassment.

Gender Reassignment

The company will prohibit and respond to all instances of discrimination, both from colleagues and externally. The company will provide support to prevent discrimination against transsexual people who have or who are about to undergo gender reassignment.

Pregnancy or Maternity

The company will challenge discriminatory assumptions about the pregnancy or maternity of our employees and ensure that no individual is disadvantaged and that we take account of the needs of our employees’ pregnancy or maternity.

Marriage or civil partnership

The company will not disadvantage individuals on the basis of their marital status

Race Discrimination

The company will not discriminate on grounds of race, colour, nationality (including citizenship) or ethnic or national origins whether actual or perceived.

Age Discrimination

The company shall not discriminate against any employee on grounds of age, which includes by way of job advertising, recruitment, working practices and duties within particular roles.

In view of the fact that there is no longer a statutory retirement age under UK legislation, the company shall not automatically retire you, unless it has objective justification to take this action.

Disability Discrimination

Where relevant, the company shall also take reasonable steps to ensure the workplace is accessible to persons falling within the scope of the Equality Act that may involve the implementation of physical or structural changes.

The Equality Act defines a disabled person as “someone who has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities which includes things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public
transport”.

It will be considered discrimination to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability (e.g., a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising from dyslexia).

Individuals diagnosed with progressive forms of cancer, HIV and multiple sclerosis also fall within the scope of disability and this protection is relevant from point of diagnosis rather than when the il ness started to have an adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out their day-to-day activities.

Employees are requested to inform their line manager within the company if such diagnosis occurs and should note that any such disclosure shall be treated in the strictest confidence.

Religion or Belief

The company will respect an individual’s religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief and will not allow discrimination or harassment of that individual due to those beliefs.

Sexual Orientation

The company will not discriminate on the grounds of an individual’s sexual orientation, whether actual or perceived.

Criminal Offences

The company shall abide by the guidelines contained within the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) Order 1975 (as amended in 2013) and the Police Act 1997 (Criminal Records).

The Company will not unlawfully discriminate against any candidate where they are required to provide information about their criminal convictions.

Equal Pay

The company will treat both its men and women employees equally, in respect of their terms and conditions of employment, if they are employed on ‘like work’, work rated as equivalent under a job evaluation study, or work found to be of equal value. This does not just cover remuneration alone but includes most terms in an employment contract. Variance within rates of pay due to length of service, performance, bonuses or individual y agreed terms of contract will not be influenced by the gender of the employee. Terms covering special treatment because of pregnancy or childbirth or reflecting statutory restrictions on the employment of women are not covered.

Ethical Veganism

The Company recognises that some of our employees may identify as ethical vegans and will endeavour to ensure its decisions are made in such ways that do not conflict with their rights or beliefs.

Bullying & Harassment

Even where not covered by the specific aspects stated within this Equal Opportunities policy, the Company shall not tolerate any form of harassment, victimisation or bullying within the workplace of its employees.

Bullying and/or harassment can take many forms and all staff should be aware of behaviour of one person to another that may be seen as over-bearing, intimidating, controlling or abusive. All staff should treat any other employee or work colleague with dignity and respect. Any complaint of bullying or harassment shall be investigated thoroughly and if found to have occurred shall be treated as Gross Misconduct.

Note that bullying and harassment are not determined by the intention of the person causing offence, but rather by the effect it has on the recipient i.e., if it is deemed by them that they find the behaviour unacceptable to them.

Definitions

Direct Discrimination

Direct discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have (see perceptive discrimination) or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic (see associative discrimination).

Associative Discrimination

This is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.

Perceptive Discrimination

This is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actual y possess that characteristic.

Indirect Discrimination

Indirect discrimination can occur when you have a condition, rule, policy or even a practice in your company that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected
characteristic.

Harassment

Harassment is defines as “unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual”.

Harassment can be verbal and or physical treatment, it can be comments, name caling, jokes, circulating of images or jokes of offensive content. Harassment is stil harassment even when the person who is offended, degraded, or intimated is in the vicinity of the conduct rather than the direct recipient.

Third Party Harassment

Employers can be potentially liable for harassment of employees by people (third parties) who are not employees of your company, such as customers or clients. Any issues regarding third party companies conduct towards employees or workers should be raised with your line manager in the first instance.

Victimisation

Victimisation occurs when an employee is treated badly / less favourably because they have made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act, or because they are suspected of doing so. An employee is not protected from victimisation if they have maliciously made or supported an untrue complaint.

Bullying

Whilst not specifically referenced in the Equality Act 2010 is still a matter for concern of the Company because it relates to ensuring a positive work environment, encourages the positive contribution that everyone makes and falls within the responsibility to provide a safe place to work.

Bullying behaviour can be similar to those considered as harassment but not related to any protected characteristics. Micromanagement, withholding information, excluding colleagues from social events are also some examples of bullying.

Breach of Policy

If you feel that you have been treated inequitably in breach of the above policy, then you must initially raise the complaint through the company Grievance Procedure. The company shall then fully investigate any such complaint.

All employees are required to apply this policy in practice and failure to comply with, or deliberate breaches of, the above legislation will not be tolerated. Such instances will be investigated and dealt with under the company disciplinary procedure. If carried out deliberately or maliciously this will be regarded as Gross Misconduct and may, depending upon the severity of the breach, resulting summary dismissal.

Monitoring

All areas of employment practice are monitored and policies and / or practices are amended if necessary to ensure that no unfair or unlawful discrimination, intentional, unintentional, direct, or indirect, overt, or latent exists.

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