Equality and Diversity Policy (as an employer)
This policy was adopted by the Council at its meeting held on 24th January 2018, Minute Ref. 18/07b. For review annually.
West Bergholt Parish Council is committed to encouraging equality and diversity among our workforce and eliminating unlawful discrimination. Our aim is that our workforce be truly representative of all sections of society and for each employee to feel respected and able to give their best.
The Council will also apply these aims in the selection of Councillors when co-option is necessary to fill casual (mid-term) vacancies and is committed against unlawful discrimination when going about its business delivering its services.
The policy’s purpose is to:
- provide equality, fairness and respect for all in our employment, whether temporary, part-time or full-time.
- provide equality, fairness and respect for all when delivering its services.
- not unlawfully discriminate as specified in the Equality Act 2010, the nine “protected characteristics” of:
- gender reassignment
- marriage and civil partnership
- pregnancy and maternity
- race (including colour, nationality, and ethnic or national origin), religion or belief
- sex (gender) sexual orientation
- oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination in the workplace. This includes in pay and benefits, terms and conditions of employment, dealing with grievances and discipline, dismissal, redundancy, leave for parents, requests for flexible working, and selection for employment, promotion, training or other developmental opportunities.
- also oppose and avoid all forms of unlawful discrimination in our actions as a Council.
- all proposed policies will be regularly reviews to ensure that there is no unlawful discrimination.
West Bergholt Parish Council commits to:
- Encourage equality and diversity in the workplace as they are good management practice and make sound business sense.
- Create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, promoting dignity and respect for all, and where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.
This commitment includes training councillors, the clerk and all other employees about their rights and responsibilities under the equality policy. Responsibilities include staff conducting themselves to help the organisation provide equal opportunities in employment, and prevent bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination.
All staff should understand they, as well as their employer, can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination, in the course of their employment, against fellow employees, residents, suppliers and the public.
- Take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, residents, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the Council’s activities.
Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the Council’s Grievance and Disciplinary Policies, and any appropriate action will be taken. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice.
Further, sexual harassment may amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter, such as in sexual assault allegations. In addition, harassment under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, which is not limited to circumstances where harassment relates to a protected characteristic, is a criminal offence.
- Make opportunities for training, development and progress available to all staff, who will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential, so their talents and resources can be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the council.
- Make decisions concerning staff based on merit (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).
- Review employment practices and procedures when necessary to ensure fairness and update them to take account of any changes in the law.
- Monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality and diversity, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality policy.
Monitoring will also include assessing how the equality policy is working in practice, reviewing it annually, and taking action to address any issues.
The Equality Policy is fully supported by the entire Council.
Details of the organisation’s grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures can be found on westbergholt-pc.gov.uk. This includes with whom an employee should raise a grievance – usually their line manager.
Use of the organisation’s grievance and disciplinary procedures does not affect an employee’s right to make a claim to an employment tribunal within three months of the alleged discrimination.