Ratified by: The Board of Trustees, also known as the Board of Directors
Date ratified: 24 September 2020
Scheduled review date: September 2022
1. OUR COMMITMENT
Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) aims to create a culture that respects and values each other’s differences. MiSP sees these differences as an asset to its culture and its work as they improve our ability to meet the needs of the organisation and people we serve.
All MiSP stakeholders will receive fair treatment regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex (gender), or sexual orientation (‘protected characteristics’ under the Equality Act 2010).
- •We will strive to work to eliminate any unlawful or unfair discrimination including direct or indirect discrimination, discrimination by association, discrimination linked to a perceived characteristic, harassment and victimisation.
- We will remain proactive in taking steps to ensure inclusion and engagement for all the people who work for and with us.
- We will continue to strive towards a culture that is diverse and inclusive that recognises and develops the potential of all employees, beneficiaries and our whole community.
- We recognise the business benefits and opportunities of having a diverse community who value one another and realising the contribution they can make to achieving MiSP’s vision.
2. LEGAL FRAMEWORK
It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly in recruitment or employment because of a ‘protected characteristic’. The Equality Act defines the protected characteristics as being age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality, caste and ethnic or national origins), sexual orientation, religion or belief, or because someone is married or in a civil partnership.
Discrimination after employment may also be unlawful, e.g. refusing to give a reference for a reason related to one of the protected characteristics.
It is also unlawful to discriminate against or harass a member of the public or service user in the provision of services or goods or to fail to make reasonable adjustments to overcome barriers to using services caused by disability.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments includes the removal, adaptation or alteration of physical features, if the physical features make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of services. In addition, service providers have an obligation to think ahead and address any barriers that may impede disabled people from accessing a service.
3. TYPES OF UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION
Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic. However discrimination may be lawful if there is an occupational requirement, which is core to a job role and a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
Indirect discrimination means putting in place, a rule or policy or way of doing things that has a worse impact on someone with a protected characteristic than someone without one, when this cannot be objectively justified.
Harassment is where there is unwanted behaviour related to a protected characteristic (other than marriage and civil partnership, and pregnancy and maternity) which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or which creates a hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. It does not matter whether or not this affect was intended by the person responsible for the conduct.
Associative discrimination is where the individual treated less favourably does not have a protected characteristic but is discriminated against because of their association with someone who does e.g. the parent of a disabled child.
Perceptive discrimination is where the individual discriminated against or harassed does not have a protected characteristic but they are perceived to have a protected characteristic.
Third-party harassment occurs where an employee is harassed by third parties, such as service users, due to a protected characteristic.
Victimisation is treating someone unfavourably because they have taken some form of action relating to the Equality Act i.e. because they have supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because they are suspected of doing so. However, an employee is not protected from victimisation if they acted maliciously or made or supported an untrue complaint.
Failure to make reasonable adjustments is where a rule or policy or way of doing things has a worse impact on someone with a protected characteristic compared with someone who does not have that protected characteristic and the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable the individual to overcome the disadvantage.
4. EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES IN EMPLOYMENT
We will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline and selection for redundancy.
- Job descriptions will avoid any unnecessary requirements (those unrelated to effective performance) that may otherwise deter applicants. We will base decisions on objective criteria.
- We will consider making reasonable adjustments in recruitment as well as in day-to-day employment.
- We will take seriously complaints of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination by fellow employees, customers, suppliers, visitors, the public and any others in the course of the organisation’s work activities. Such acts will be dealt with as misconduct under the organisation’s grievance and/or disciplinary procedures, and 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.
- We will 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 organisation.
- We will make decisions concerning staff on the basis of evidence: that an individual can meet defined criteria (apart from in any necessary and limited exemptions and exceptions allowed under the Equality Act).
- We will keep employment practices and procedures under regular review to ensure fairness, and also to update them and the policy to take account of changes in the law.
5. SERVICE USERS
We will not discriminate unlawfully against existing service users or those who are seeking to use the services we provide:
- We will regularly review our training, curricula and materials to ensure they are non-discriminatory, accessible and inclusive.
- We will invite feedback and views from service users to challenge any bias.
We will collect equality, diversity and inclusion data from job applicants, employees, volunteers and service users for monitoring purposes. This data will only be used to assess compliance with this policy. All data will be dealt with in accordance with the Data Protection Policy.
7. STAFF TRAINING
We will provide information and guidance to those involved in recruitment or other decision making where equal opportunities issues are likely to arise to help them understand our policy and their responsibilities and to avoid the risk of discrimination.
8. RESPONSIBILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY
he Board of Trustees has independent control over, and legal responsibility for, a charity’s management and administration, and as such has overall responsibility for the equality, diversity and inclusion policy at MiSP. Trustees are expected to proactively promote the implementation of this policy with all stakeholders of the Charity.
All staff, including trustees, employees and volunteers are responsible for supporting the organisation in meeting its commitment and avoiding unlawful discrimination. If you believe that you have been discriminated against you should report this to your line manager or the Chief Executive under the grievance procedure. If your complaint involves bullying or harassment, the grievance procedure is modified as set out in the dignity at work policy. We take any complaint seriously and you will not be penalised for raising a grievance, even if your grievance is not upheld, unless your complaint is both untrue and made in bad faith.
If you witness what you believe to be discrimination you should report this to your line manager or the Chief Executive as soon as possible.
Employees can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, the organisation for any act of unlawful discrimination. Employees who commit serious acts of harassment may be guilty of a criminal offence. Acts of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation against employees or customers are disciplinary offences and will be dealt with under our disciplinary procedure. Discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation may constitute gross misconduct and could lead to dismissal without notice.
9. CONTACT DETAILS
Lead officer: Chivonne Preston (Chief Executive)
Board contact: Sarah Ingram (Company Secretary)
10. FURTHER GUIDANCE
This policy should be read alongside the following our policies and procedures:
- Complaints Policy
- Data Protection Policy
- Health and Safety Policy
- Safeguarding Policy
- Whistleblowing Policy
- Employee Handbook
11. POLICY REVIEW PROCEDURE
We are committed to reviewing this policy as soon as we become aware of any new, significant, relevant, factors, and at least every two years to assess its effectiveness and to update it in accordance with changes in the law.