Equality and diversity policy

1. Introduction

Equality and diversity are the pillars of a healthy and productive workplace. Everyone at YES should feel supported and valued as individuals. We are invested in treating everyone with respect and consideration of diverse opinions, cultures, lifestyles and circumstances. The principles of non-discrimination and equality of opportunity also apply to the way in which our employees treat visitors, clients, customers, suppliers and former employees.

YES is committed to ensuring employees are remunerated, recruited, developed and promoted based on skills and suitability for the work performed. We are committed to ensuring that no employee, job applicant, or stakeholder receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of: age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation. Referred to hereafter as protected characteristics.

No one will be disadvantaged by YES conditions or requirements that cannot be shown to be relevant to performance. We will not discriminate because of any other irrelevant factor and will build a culture that values meritocracy, openness, fairness, need and transparency.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all employees regardless of length of service and whether on a permanent or fixed term contract or full working hours or reduced hours job candidates, agency workers, self-employed contractors and all other stakeholders e.g., partners, visitors.

This policy applies to all aspects of our relationship with employees and to relations between employees at all levels. This includes: job advertisements, recruitment and selection, training and development, opportunities for promotion, conditions of service, pay and benefits, conduct at work, disciplinary, capability and grievance procedures, and termination of employment.

We will take appropriate steps to accommodate the requirements of different religions, cultures, and domestic responsibilities.

3. Responsibility

It is the responsibility of the Management team (MT) to ensure all aspects of the business are kept regularly under review to ensure they operate within the policy. However, all employees are required to ensure the policy is carried out in its entirety.

Employees have a duty to act in accordance with this policy and always treat colleagues and stakeholders with dignity, and not to discriminate or harass other employees, regardless of their status.

All managers must set an appropriate standard of behaviour, lead by example and ensure those they manage adhere to the policy.

4. Our commitment

As an employer we will commit to:

creating an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of our employees are recognised and valued;

  • entitling every employee, worker and self-employed contractor to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated;
  • providing training, development and progression opportunities to all employees;
  • understanding equality in the workplace is good management practice and makes sound business sense;
  • reviewing all our employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness.
  • encouraging all employees to come forward with any issues they need our assistance and understanding with, no matter their background, identity or circumstances, such as if they are victims of domestic abuse or have caring commitments.

As a service provider we will commit to:

  • providing services to which all clients are entitled regardless of protected characteristic, offending past, caring responsibilities or social class;
  • making sure our services are delivered equally and meet the diverse needs of our service users and clients by assessing and meeting the diverse needs of our clients;
  • selecting those for employment, promotion, training, or any other benefit purely on the basis of aptitude and ability;
  • monitoring and reviewing this policy annually;
  • having clear procedures that enable our clients, candidates for jobs and employees to raise a grievance or make a complaint if they feel they have been unfairly treated;
  • treating breaches of our equality and diversity policy as misconduct which could lead to disciplinary proceedings;

5. Forms of discrimination

Discrimination by or against an employee is generally prohibited unless there is a specific legal exemption. Discrimination may be direct or indirect and it may occur intentionally or unintentionally.

Direct discrimination occurs where someone is treated less favourably because of one or more of the protected characteristics set out above. For example, rejecting an applicant on the grounds of their race because they would not "fit in" would be direct discrimination.

Indirect discrimination occurs where someone is disadvantaged by an unjustified provision, criterion or practice that also puts other people with the same protected characteristic at a particular disadvantage.

Harassment related to any of the protected characteristics is prohibited. Harassment is unwanted conduct that has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

Victimisation is also prohibited. This is less favourable treatment of someone who has complained or given information about discrimination, harassment, or supported someone else's complaint.

6. Recruitment and promotion

We aim to ensure that no job applicant suffers discrimination because of any of the protected characteristics above. Our recruitment procedures are reviewed regularly to ensure that individuals are treated based on their relevant merits and abilities.

Job selection criteria are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are relevant to the job and are not disproportionate. Shortlisting of applicants should be done by more than one person wherever possible.

Job advertisements, external and internal, should avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage groups with a particular protected characteristic from applying. All vacancies are advertised internally.

YES actively promotes equality of opportunity for all with the right mix of talent, skills and potential. We welcome applications from a wide range of candidates, external and internal, including ex-offenders.

All selection interviews and short listings will be conducted on an objective basis and deal only with suitability for the job. Any questions asked in respect of personal circumstances will relate purely to the job requirements and be asked of all the candidates for the role.

We are required by law to ensure that all employees are entitled to work in the UK. Assumptions about immigration status should not be made based on appearance or apparent nationality. All prospective employees, regardless of nationality, must be able to produce original documents (such as a passport) before employment starts, to satisfy current immigration legislation. The list of acceptable documents is available from the UK Border Agency. We will also ensure that others such as consultants, contractors and workers are entitled to work in the UK.

To ensure this policy is operating effectively and to identify groups that may be underrepresented or disadvantaged at YES, we monitor applicants' ethnic group, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion and age as part of the recruitment procedure. Provision of this information is voluntary and it will not adversely affect an individual's chances of recruitment or any other decision related to their employment.

The information is removed from applications before shortlisting and kept in an anonymised format solely for the purposes stated in this policy. Analysing this data helps us take appropriate steps to avoid discrimination and improve equality and diversity.

We will only ask an applicant to provide details of convictions and cautions we are legally entitled to know about. Any application for a criminal record check is only submitted to DBS after an assessment has indicated one is both proportionate and relevant to the position concerned.

7. Job descriptions

We will include only those requirements necessary for the effective performance of the role.

Any requirement for employees to: travel extensively, relocate or carry out overtime and shift work will be applied in a fair and reasonable manner.

8. Training, promotion and conditions of service

Training needs will be identified through regular development reviews. All employees will be given appropriate access to training to enable them to progress within YES and all promotion decisions will be made based on merit.

Our conditions of service, benefits and facilities are reviewed regularly to ensure they are available to all employees who should have access to them and there are no unlawful obstacles to accessing them.

9. Disability discrimination

Employees who are disabled or who become disabled are encouraged to inform us of their condition so appropriate support can be provided. If employees experience difficulties at work because of their disability, they are encouraged to inform us of the difficulties they are experiencing and suggest any reasonable adjustment to help overcome or minimise the difficulty.

YES may consult: the employee; their medical advisor and/or an occupational health provider, about possible adjustments. We will carefully consider the matter and try to accommodate the employee's needs within reason. Where we consider an adjustment would not be reasonable, we will explain the reasons and try to find an alternative solution where possible.

YES will regularly monitor the physical features of the premises to consider whether they place disabled workers or job applicants at a substantial disadvantage, compared to other employees. Where reasonable, we will take steps to improve access for disabled employees.

10. Part-time work

We monitor the conditions of service of part-time employees and their progression to ensure that they are being offered appropriate access to benefits and training and promotion opportunities. We will ensure requests to alter working hours are dealt with appropriately.

11. Ex-offenders

We will prevent discrimination against our employees regardless of their offending background (except where there is a known risk to children or vulnerable adults).

12. Termination of employment

We will ensure redundancy criteria and procedures are fair and objective and are not directly or indirectly discriminatory.

We will also ensure disciplinary procedures and penalties are applied without discrimination, whether they result in disciplinary warnings, dismissal or other disciplinary action.

13. Unconscious bias

We recognise the dangers of unconscious bias arising at work, which is where an opinion is formed on an individual by a manager or colleague without them necessarily being aware they have formed it.

There are many different forms of unconscious bias, ranging from an affinity towards those of a similar background to placing too much significance on what has been identified as a negative trait.

We will work against forms of unconscious bias in all decisions taken for employment, including recruitment, promotion and training opportunities, with a focus on promoting diversity and inclusion.

In particular, the following will be implemented:

  • Name blind recruitment
  • Omitting all personal questions from job interviews
  • Referring to specific job criteria when making recruitment decisions
  • Discounting any favourable personal relationships with employees.

14. Breaches of this policy

If an employee believes they may have been discriminated or subjected to harassment, they are encouraged to raise the matter through the 10.01 - Grievance policy. For those that are not employees that wish to raise a complaint then this should be done via the 04.03.01 - Comments, complaints and commendations procedure.

Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the relevant procedure. Employees who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. False allegations which are found to have been made in bad faith will, however, be dealt with under our 09.01 -Disciplinary policy.

Any employee who is found to have committed an act of discrimination or harassment will be subject to disciplinary action. Such behaviour may constitute gross misconduct and, as such, may result in summary dismissal. We take a strict approach to serious breaches of this policy.

15. Law relating to this policy

  • Employment Rights Act 1996.
  • Equality Act 2010.
  • Data Protection Act 1988, General Data Protection Regulation 2018, UK GDPR 2020

Thank you for reading this policy.

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