Equality and Diversity

1. Equal Opportunity Statement

It is UCM Education’s policy to treat all job applicants and employees fairly and equally regardless of sex, pregnancy or maternity, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, age, race, colour, nationality, national or ethnic origins or disability, or any other grounds, whether prohibited by legislation or otherwise.

UCM Education is totally committed to creating a working environment in which everyone is treated with dignity and respect, and free from unlawful discrimination, victimisation or harassment.

The non-discrimination principle inherent in this policy includes the prohibition of discrimination against an individual because he or she associates with someone of a particular race, religion, sexual orientation, age, etc; for example, an employee who is married to someone of a minority ethnic origin or who socialises with gay or lesbian friends. The prohibition on discrimination applies equally to situations where someone thinks or perceives (whether rightly or wrongly) that a colleague is of a particular race, sexual orientation, religion, age, sex or that he or she has a disability, is a trans-gender person or is pregnant.

The policy applies to the process of recruitment and selection, promotion, training, conditions of work, pay and benefits and to every other aspect of employment, including general treatment at work and the processes involved in the termination of employment.

Where increased pay and/or enhanced benefits are offered to employees on the basis of length of service, these are intended to reward loyalty, maintain motivation and reflect higher levels of relevant experience.

The policy applies to job applicants (both internal and external) and all employees and other workers whether full-time, part-time, temporary, seasonal or contractual.

When establishing criteria for recruitment and promotion into vacant posts, UCM will consider carefully whether any minimum or maximum number of years of relevant experience is necessary for effective performance of the job. Such restrictions will not be imposed unless there is a proper job-based reason why they are necessary.

UCM Education does not operate any compulsory retirement age, and each employee may choose for him or herself when to stop working, subject to continuing to be sufficiently fit to perform his or her job to a satisfactory standard.

Employees who are disabled or become disabled in the course of their employment should inform the Director about their disability. UCM Education will then discuss with the employee what reasonable adjustments to his or her job, working conditions or environment might assist in the performance of his or her duties. The employee will also be encouraged to suggest any adjustments that he or she believes would be helpful. Careful consideration will be given to any proposals and, where reasonable and reasonably practicable, such adjustments will be made. There may, however, be circumstances where it will not be reasonable or reasonably practicable for the company to accommodate proposals put forward by the employee.

This policy will be monitored on a regular basis by the Director. Where there are issues with the way the policy is working, these will be examined with a view to identifying measures to improve the effectiveness of the policy.

Every employee of UCM Education has personal responsibility for the implementation of this policy. Any instance of doubt about the application of the policy or other questions, should be addressed to the Director, as should any requests for special training.

We take this policy very seriously. A breach of this policy is considered to be gross misconduct, and disciplinary action, including dismissal for serious offences, will be taken against anyone who does not comply with it.

2. Definitions

2.1 Discrimination

Broadly speaking, a person has been discriminated against if:
They have been treated less favourably than another person because of one of the protected characteristics detailed above, because of an association with someone with a protected characteristic or because others believe they possess a protected characteristic
A procedure or practice places a group of employees at a disadvantage on any of the above grounds
They suffer harassment because of a protected characteristic
They have been victimised

2.2 Harassment

Harassment is unwanted conduct which violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person. Harassment is unlawful where it is motivated by one of the grounds set out above, but we include more general harassment within our definition. Although not exhaustive, the following are examples of types of behaviour that may amount to harassment:
• Physical assault
• Physical or verbal abuse
• Threats
• Suggestive comments or gestures
• Offensive gestures, language, gossip or jokes
• Insulting or abusive behaviour or comments
• Isolation or exclusion
• Bullying
• Unreasonable persistent criticism or humiliation

2.3 Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment may take many forms, from relatively mild sexual banter to physical violence. Employees may not always realise that their behaviour constitutes sexual harassment, but they must recognise that what is acceptable to one person may not be acceptable to another. Sexual harassment may be physical, verbal or non-verbal. Examples include, but may not be limited to:
• Insensitive jokes and pranks that contain a sexual element
• Remarks or banter that have a sexual content
• Lewd comments about appearance
• Unnecessary and unwelcome body contact
• Displays of sexually offensive material, eg pin-ups, emails with offensive attachments
• Requests for sexual favours
• Speculation or gossip about a person’s private life and sexual activities
• Threatened or actual sexual violence
• Threat of dismissal, loss of promotion, etc, for refusal of sexual favours
• Emails of a sexual nature

2.4 Victimisation

Someone is victimised when they suffer unfavourable treatment because they have, in good faith, made a complaint under this policy, acted as a witness or accompanied a complainant to a hearing.

3. Responsibilities

It is the obligation of all UCM Education staff to be sensitive about the impact that they have on others and to behave in a way that supports this policy when dealing with everyone that they come into contact with as part of their employment. This policy is not designed to discourage normal social relations among colleagues or with the public, but it aims to prevent discrimination, harassment and victimisation.

This policy applies not only at UCM Education’s premises, but anywhere staff are working as part of their employment with UCM Education. This includes any social occasions or member meetings organised by UCM Education or that staff members attend on behalf of UCM.

UCM Education staff must not condone discrimination, harassment or victimisation by others. Any incidents that can be interpreted as discriminatory should be reported to the Director.

4. Complaints

UCM aims to resolve any complaints as quickly as possible, and all complaints will be treated seriously and confidentially. Only complaints that relate to a breach of this policy should be made using this procedure. Other types of complaint should be made through the appropriate UCM complaints procedure, such as Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedures, Grievance Procedures or Whistleblowing Policy.

4.1 What do I do if I am experiencing discrimination, harassment or victimisation?

You should consider whether it is appropriate to raise the matter directly with the person concerned in order to resolve the problem. If it is not, you should speak to the Director.

Following your discussion, you will be asked to choose one of the following options, but if you are not satisfied with an informal approach, a formal complaint can be made at any stage.
• Agree that no further action is necessary
• Agree to discuss the complaint with the individual who is alleged to have caused offence
• Ask UCM Education to help to resolve the matter through informal and/or discreet approaches
• Make a formal written complaint to UCM Education

4.2 How do I make a formal complaint?

Formal complaints should be made in writing, signed and dated. You will be heard by the Director or their nominee and have the result of your complaint within 10 working days of the submission of your complaint.

You may ask that someone of the same sex hears your complaint. If your request is reasonable in your particular circumstances, a different person than that chosen initially by UCM Education may need to be selected to hear your complaint. If you are interviewed as part of your complaint, you will have the same right to be accompanied as detailed in UCM’s Grievance Procedure.

If the complaint has resulted in a disciplinary investigation against another person at any stage of the process, the case will not normally be reopened if you escalate the complaint to the next stage.

4.3 What will happen after I have made my complaint?

Where a formal complaint is made, a full investigation will be conducted.

The first step is to investigate the allegations carefully and as discreetly as possible. This will involve hearing detailed accounts from all involved parties. Other members of staff may also be asked to provide information, and documents, email and other evidence may be considered. A full record of the progress and outcome of the investigation and any steps taken will be reported to the complainant in writing.

Those conducting the investigation will not be parties directly involved in the allegation.

4.4 What will happen if a formal complaint about a person is upheld?

Where a formal investigation has been conducted and it has been reasonably concluded that some form of discrimination, harassment or victimisation may have taken place, those responsible will be subject to UCM Education’s normal Disciplinary and Dismissal Procedures.

Action will not normally be initiated without the agreement of the complainant, but there are some circumstances where where UCM Education may need to pursue the matter formally, for example, if other people could be at risk if no action is taken.

The outcome of the disciplinary procedures will depend upon the circumstances. Serious acts of discrimination, harassment or victimisation will be regarded as gross misconduct and may lead to instant dismissal.

4.5 Am I protected if I make a complaint, act as a witness or accompany a complainant to a hearing?

Yes. Any acts of retaliation or intimidation against an employee will be treated as a disciplinary offence. However, an employee who maliciously makes an unfounded complaint will be subject to disciplinary action.

4.6 What if the complaint is about someone who is not employed by UCM Education?

Appropriate action to deal with the problem will be discussed with the complainant.

5. Special Requirements Relating to Equal Opportunities

UCM Education understand that individuals’ needs at work are different and that some employees may have special requirements. For example, employees of a particular religion may need somewhere quiet to pray during their lunch break, need to take holiday on a particular day for a religious event, or need to have somewhere to store specially prepared foods. Alternatively, someone may have a disability and feel that they need to have changes made to the workplace to help them do their job.

UCM Education will accommodate these requirements where it is possible and practical to do so.