Diversity in the workplace is important not just from a compliance and legal perspective. Results published in a McKinsey research paper show that companies with more diverse workforces perform better financially. Further, in July 20-17 the £1,200 employment tribunal fee was scrapped by the Supreme Court last month. The result is that those who feel mistreated can take their current or former employer to court without having to overcome a financial hurdle.
Full transparency of a company policy will help diminish the risk of discrimination in the workplace, as well as promote a diverse culture in the workplace. VinciWorks has therefore created an equality and diversity policy template that can easily be edited to suit your organisation and industry.
What should the equality and diversity policy include?
The introduction should explain the purpose of the policy and what it consists of. It should also explain the importance of everyone contributing to compliance with the requirements of the policy by embedding such values in the workplace and by challenging inappropriate behaviour and processes.
This section should explain that the organisation is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity in its own policies, practices and procedures and in those areas in which it has influence.
Staff should be aware of the 9 protected characteristics:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Pregnancy or maternity
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Sex (gender)
The policy must highlight that there are two main categories of discrimination, direct discrimination and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination occurs when, because of one of the protected characteristics, a person is treated less favourably than others are treated or would be treated. Indirect discrimination is treatment that may be equal in the sense that it applies to all individuals but which is discriminatory in its effect on, for example, one particular sex or racial group. You should provide examples of both categories of discrimination.
Recruitment, advertising and selection
This part should explain that the policy will be fully applied when it comes to recruiting and selecting new staff. Advertisements should target all suitable candidates and equal opportunity should be given to all those who wish to apply.
Training and promotion
The Organisation will provide training to all employees to help them understand their rights and responsibilities in relation to equal opportunities and dignity at work. This section should also state that the organisation will not be discriminatory when considering promoting staff to higher positions.
Bullying and harassment
A section of the equality and diversity policy should cover bullying and harassment in the workplace. Bullying is offensive or intimidating behaviour or an abuse or misuse of power which undermines or humiliates a person. It should state that bullying or harassing a member of staff will not be tolerated and should set out clear consequences should such concerns or allegations be raised.
The policy should include clear guidelines for reporting complaints and reassure staff that their complaint will be treated seriously and with full confidentiality. There should also be details on how the policy will be implemented by the organisation should a complaint be raised.
VinciWorks’ other learning tools
VinciWorks is constantly building it’s bank of learning tools to help companies embrace a diverse culture in the workplace. Here are some of the tools we provide.
Fully customisable equality and diversity course
VinciWorks’ 30 minute course on diversity provides an overview of the key obligations and best practice impacting day-to-day work. It digests the material into concise principles, featuring media stories and legal precedents that bring the topic to life.
Free “Diversity at work” posters
These posters cover topics such as prohibited conduct, protected characteristics, unconscious bias and the benefits of diversity in the workplace. They can be circulated by email, posted in the lifts or used in meetings to encourage increased awareness of diversity in the workplace.
On-demand webinar on unconscious bias
Led by Dr. Suzanne Doyle-Morris, founder of the InclusIQ Institute, this webinar on unconcious bias provides techniques for overcoming our innate biases. Dr Doyle-Morris uses real examples to help us identify and address our unconscious bias.