Equality and Diversity

Corporate Equalities Employment Policy

4. Putting words into action

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Men and women

4.3 Disabled people

4.4 Race

4.5 Age

4.6 Lesbian, gay and bisexual people

4.1. Introduction

In implementing this policy, the County Council recognises the different and special needs of the following groups of people who may experience discrimination and be disadvantaged in society.

4.2. Men and women

The County Council is opposed to discrimination on the basis of gender and recognises that social structures deprive women of opportunities to realise their full potential. The policy aims to improve the opportunities available to women. Women and men will be encouraged to apply for all jobs unless there are genuine occupational qualifications which restrict a job to one gender as defined by law. Opportunities for career counselling will be introduced and where either gender is under-represented the County Council will provide encouragement to the under-represented gender to apply for such jobs. It will also create more equal access by providing personal development opportunities to equip potential candidates with the skills to apply for those jobs.

The County Council confirms that its employment practices are designed to support women and men who have responsibilities for children and dependents whilst ensuring an effective and efficient workforce. Flexible working systems will be promoted to support people with responsibility for dependents.

The County Council will take necessary measures to prevent discrimination against employees or potential employees on grounds of gender reassignment in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

Employees undergoing gender reassignment treatment who require time off work for medical or surgical procedures will be treated as all other employees regarding the County Council's sickness reporting procedures. Personnel procedures will take into account through developed procedures, the relevant amendments required to records and systems.

4.3. Disabled people

The County Council is opposed to discrimination on grounds of disability.

Disabled applicants will not be barred from selection on grounds of their disability nor will disability in itself be acceptable as a reason for dismissal from any County Council job. The County Council will take reasonable steps to provide and adapt premises, facilities, or equipment' wherever possible to meet the needs of disabled people.

Positive steps will be taken to attract disabled people to County Council jobs through the efficient operation of the "two ticks" scheme and other County Council initiatives.

The County Council will take steps to eradicate any oppressive attitudes towards disabled people among its workforce and will run training courses to this end.

Individuals living with HIV/AIDS are protected by the Equality Act 2010. The County Council aims to treat employees who are HIV infected or who have AIDS in accordance with its normal ill-health policy and procedure. The County Council will not discriminate against employees with HIV or AIDS, and harassment or victimisation of an employee on account of an AIDS associated condition will not be tolerated.

4.4. Race

The County Council recognises that Britain is a multi-racial, multi-cultural society with a diversity of cultures and religion represented in its population.

It acknowledges the existence of institutional racism and accepts that "it can be seen or detected in the process, attitudes and behaviour which amounts to discrimination through unwitting prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and racist stereotyping which disadvantages minority ethnic people."

The County Council will not tolerate any form of racism, defined as "conduct or words or practices which disadvantage or advantage people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin." Steps will be taken to eradicate all forms of unwitting prejudice, and racist stereotyping within the structures of the organisation, and in its processes, policies or practices.

Incidents of racial harassment including verbal or physical abuse or attack against colleagues or members of the public will be dealt with under the grievance and disciplinary procedures.

Within this policy, a racist incident is defined as "any incident, which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person."

4.5. Age

The County Council recognises that inaccurate assumptions based on prejudice and stereotypes are often made about the abilities and characteristics of younger or older people, which adversely affect them. It acknowledges that discrimination against people exists because they are "too old or too young." Action will be taken to combat this discrimination and to afford equality of opportunity for older and younger people. Age related criteria will not be used in recruitment or development and training decisions. The County Council is committed to the removal of all age discrimination for and in employment.

4.6. Lesbian, gay and bisexual people

The County Council recognise that lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience very different forms of oppression. A person's sexuality is not a matter which the County Council will take into account in determining suitability for recruitment, promotion, training or transfer for any post and will not be grounds for dismissal from any County Council job.

Harassment, whether physical or verbal, of lesbian, gay or bisexual people and their children by members of the public or colleagues will not be tolerated. The County Council is committed to maintaining grievance, disciplinary and other codes of practice to deal effectively with any incident that may occur. Information and training to increase awareness and support for the policy relating to lesbian, gay and bisexual employees is an essential aspect of its development.