Equality & Diversity Policy
This document seeks to clarify IVR’s commitment to achieving equality of opportunity, both as an employer and as a service provider. Beyond that, it shows how the organisation seeks to value the diversity of its employees, customers, students, partners and suppliers.
The policy has been produced to reflect CIPD guidance and is intended as a developing document that can be changed as required by feedback, changing circumstances and legislation.
The policy is guided by the following principles:
- The Policy has the full commitment of the Directors.
- The policy is intended to reflect a process of on-going development, not be a one-off initiative.
- The policy will be reviewed at least annually.
- The policy, and approach to diversity, supports the achievement of the IVR Group’s business goals and meeting the needs of a diverse range of customers
- The policy is a document for everybody to use and is intended to result in an empowered culture and flexible decision making.
- The approach the policy sets out in terms of Equality and Diversity will link with other issues such as quality management and health and safety in a culture of professionalism and mutual respect.
The IVR Group will ensure that no student, partner, customer, employee or job applicant is discriminated against or receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of:
Gender, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, disability, educational standard, marital status, sexual orientation (including gay men, lesbians, bisexuals), gender re-assignment, responsibility for dependants, age, political activities, religious beliefs, spent offences or any other reason which cannot be shown to be justified.
The IVR Group believes in a fair and diverse society that gives everyone an equal chance to live, work and learn, free from discrimination, prejudice and harassment.
The IVR Group also recognises that unfair discrimination affects people in complex ways and that, individuals and/or groups of people can suffer discrimination and receive less favourable treatment through multiple forms of discrimination. It also recognises that failing to recognise cultural diversity has an adverse impact on the business and the workplace.
The IVR Group strives to eliminate all forms of unfair discrimination. In order to do this, it recognises that this requires not only a commitment to remove discrimination, but also action through positive policies to redress the inequalities that may have occurred in the past.
The IVR Group will strive to meet all its legal duties including those under the following and any subsequent legislation or regulations:
- Race discrimination – Race Relations Act 1976 (amendments 2000)
- Sex discrimination – Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (including Gender Reassignment Regulations 1999
- Discrimination on the grounds of gender, gender identity – Equality Act 2006
- Discrimination against transgender people - Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment) Regulations 1999
- Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
- Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
- Disability discrimination – Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (amendments 2005)
- Discrimination against people with criminal records - Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
- Discrimination against people belonging to a (particular) Trade Union – Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
- Age Discrimination - Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
European Union Directives and Codes of Practice.
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE POLICY
Promoting diversity and equality of opportunity is about putting principles into practice and creating a culture of continuous improvement.
The overall aim is to bring diversity issues into mainstream while recognising the obligations under various legislation and good practice guides.
By mainstreaming we mean that we will ensure diversity issues are considered in all parts of the business and are part of all our processes. The policy will also be drawn to the attention of funding agencies, job applicants and, where appropriate, clients.
The “Policy Statement” above shall be displayed in our offices, visible to all staff and visitors. Employees and management are to be given a copy of the whole policy upon appointment and whenever the policy is modified.
The IVR Group will seek to keep abreast of developments in Diversity and equality practice.
RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBLITIES
Rights of the individual (Including Employee/Customer Rights):
- Any employee/student has the right to give feedback or raise complaints if they feel they have been unfairly treated. They are entitled to submit a complaint to the IVR Group. This will be dealt with by the management board.
- Every customer has the right to receive services without any form of harassment, discrimination or victimisation (either verbally or physically).
- Any employee who feels they may have a complaint under this policy should raise the matter initially through the IVR office. Job applicants who feel that they have grounds for a complaint should write to the management board.
- Employees of The IVR Group are entitled to a safe environment which is free from discrimination and harassment.
- The IVR Group will seek to protect individuals from any form of victimisation arising from them taking action in relation to their rights in law or making any complaint through the procedures arising from this policy.
- Staff, have a responsibility for the implementation of this policy and in challenging discrimination.
- The management board are responsible for the overall management and strategic direction of the Equality and Diversity Policy.
- The Directors have the lead on equality and diversity issues amongst other staff.
- Directors are responsible for ensuring the implementation of the Policy.
- All staff have a responsibility for promoting and delivering equal opportunities and valuing diversity in the workplace.
- The IVR Group regards discrimination, harassment, abuse, victimisation or bullying of staff, clients, students or of others in the course of work as disciplinary offences that could be regarded as gross misconduct. Condoning such behaviour could also be treated as a disciplinary offence. As well as disciplining the perpetrator(s), we will give appropriate support to people who complain of harassment of themselves or others.
RECRUITMENT AND EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
- The IVR Group aims to be a fair employer and to ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of any factors irrelevant to a person’s ability to do a job.
- The IVR Group will ensure that all its employment policies and procedures do not discriminate intentionally or unintentionally against any group or individual on any unjustifiable grounds;
- The IVR Group will seek to recruit and retain a workforce that reflects the expertise existing in the community at all levels and ensure that recruitment and selection procedures are in place to attract the best applicants regardless of their background or circumstances.
- Selection, recruitment, training, promotion and employment practice generally will be subject to regular review to ensure that they comply with the equality and diversity policy.
- The IVR Group will actively and positively consider staff requests to work flexibly, whether part time or some other working arrangement, for whatever reason, so long as it is possible to agree this/consistent with the needs of the organisation.
- We will value the diversity and contribution that disabled people may bring and will make reasonable adjustments (as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act) to facilitate this
- We accept our obligations not to discriminate against applicants and employees on the basis of their religion. We also respect the beliefs of all staff. We will try to accommodate employees religious beliefs (having consideration for the needs of the business) by:
o When required seeking to provide a place for prayers during the working day and at the workplace.
o Considering employees dietary requirements in catering for staff and when providing facilities for staff to eat and store food.
o Where possible allowing staff of particular faiths to take their holidays for religious festivals and other religious observance
o Trying to arrange job interviews or other important work meetings at times when they do not clash with important religious festivals.
o Not imposing a dress code with which people of a particular religion cannot comply, however safety and therefore the requirement for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be worn will be a prime concern.
WORKPLACE BEHAVIOUR AND COMMUNICATION
The IVR Group seeks to promote a culture with good communication channels based on open dialogue and active listening. The diverse needs of individuals will be recognised by using a wide range of communication methods.
The policy is based on a respect and dignity for all and that everybody has a responsibility to uphold the policy and its standards.
Specifically all forms of harassment, bullying and intimidating behaviour are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This could include inappropriate language, sexual innuendo or inappropriate touching and jokes based on a stereotype of a particular group. This behaviour could be verbal, by telephone or through electronic media such as email.
The organisation wants to maintain a vibrant and fun workplace and will encourage issues of misunderstanding to be openly discussed and resolved.
The need for appropriate behaviour that does not unfairly discriminate is particularly important in service delivery and ties in with the organisations Customer Service Policies.
The IVR Group will continually seek ways to integrate Equality and Diversity issues into training programmes to increase awareness of the issues.
From time to time specific awareness raising training will be considered that staff and managers will be required to attend.
Instructors will be specifically trained in diversity issues to allow them to drive forward the policy into day-to-day use.
Equality and Diversity will be included in any induction programmes so that all new employees know about IVR (UK)’s values and policies.
MONITORING AND REVIEW
This policy is subject to review and improvement and will be reviewed annually by the Directors and management team. Any suggestions for changes should be made, in the first instance, to a Director.
The IVR Group may ask clients using the services or job applicants for information about their ethnic origin, disability, marital status, age or other personal information but will only do this for a specific defined purpose such as collecting statistical data, for research or for our own monitoring to evaluate this policy’s impact.