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1.   Policy Statement

Christopher Hawgood aims to recruit those people who are most suitable because of their training, professional skills and relevant personal qualities.

We welcome diversity and actively promote a policy and practice of equality of opportunity in employment for all candidates and employees, regardless of
colour, race and nationality, national or ethnic origin, religion or creed, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, responsibility for dependants, age, and membership or non membership of a trade union or political affiliation.

2.   Purpose

The reason for having this policy is to ensure that Christopher Hawgood, applicants for job-vacancies, clients, and all other parties involved in the recruitment process treat each other with respect and dignity. Christopher Hawgood is committed to removing barriers for staff, applicants, and clients and will not tolerate discrimination in any form and will comply with all relevant equal opportunities legislation as a minimum standard.

3.   Aims

This policy will be reviewed, and its effectiveness will be monitored; its aim, through increased awareness at all levels, is to ensure that it becomes part of everyday work-practice. The effectiveness of the policy depends upon all parties involved in the recruitment process accepting personal responsibility for the application of its principles in order to create an environment which is free from discrimination, in which everybody is treated with respect and dignity. 

The policy aims to ensure best practice at all times and at all levels, and is designed to comply with and fulfil our duties and obligations to avoid any form of discrimination, as defined below.

4.   What is Discrimination?

Discrimination means treating a person or a group of people less favourably than you would another person or group in the same or similar situation. There are many types of discrimination:

· Direct discrimination (intentional): Occurs when a person is deliberately treated less favourably (on the grounds of, for example, their race, disability or gender) than others are in the same circumstances. 

· Indirect discrimination (unintentional): Occurs when a condition or requirement is unfairly or unnecessarily applied which adversely affects some people more than others, but there is no active intention to discriminate. 

· Segregation: Segregating a person from others may constitute less favourable treatment.

· Discrimination on grounds of marriage: Occurs when a married person is unfairly or unnecessarily treated less favourably than a single person, or vice versa.

· Single parent discrimination: Occurs when a condition or requirement is unfairly or unnecessarily imposed which directly or indirectly discriminates against single parents.

· Age discrimination: Occurs when arbitrary age barriers are imposed unfairly or unnecessarily when an age-limit is not a genuine requirement of the job.

· Rehabilitation of offenders: Concerns the use of information about “spent” convictions to discriminate unfairly against a person, without justification, where the job itself does not require this.

· Victimisation: Occurs when a person is deliberately singled out to be treated less favourably than another (because for example, he/she is known or is suspected of having complained or given evidence concerning a situation where an individual has behaved in a discriminating or harassing manner).

· Harassment: Is a form of direct discrimination and occurs in a variety of circumstances. It can be directed at a group of people or an individual and is any form of behaviour (physical, verbal or nonverbal, for example) that is unwanted, unsolicited, and personally offensive or humiliating to the recipient. It is the recipient who decides whether they are experiencing behaviour unacceptable to them. The same behaviour may not necessarily be found offensive by someone else in the same circumstances.

There are many types of harassment; it is not restricted to sexual and racial harassment. For example, harassment could be related to colour, nationality, national or ethnic origin, religion or creed, gender, sexual orientation or disability. 

Harassing behaviour can take different forms, including:

· Unwelcome remarks, suggestions, innuendoes and inappropriate jokes;

· Visual harassment, such as pinups, graffiti, and offensive literature and pictures;

· Bullying behaviour that is intimidating, malicious or an abuse of power;

· Offensive gestures or body-language;

· Unwelcome physical contact.

Everybody must be alert to physical and verbal harassment and deal with it immediately, whether or not it has been specifically drawn to their attention. Any cases of discrimination, harassment or victimisation that are reported must be handled in a confidential manner and should not be discussed unnecessarily with any person not directly involved in the situation.

5.   Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure they do not support unfair behaviour by ignoring or condoning what is happening around them; it is essential to foster a supportive working environment. We are all responsible for our own behaviour and have a legal and moral responsibility to maintain an environment where discrimination, harassment and victimisation are regarded as being unacceptable. 

Any action which cannot be resolved on an informal basis, or which is particularly serious, or which continues following a request to stop must be reported and will be subject to formal investigation. Any party, regardless of grade or position, found to be responsible for inciting, perpetrating or condoning discrimination or harassment may face disciplinary action which may lead to dismissal. 

In addition an individual who is the harasser can be held personally liable if the person who has been harassed undertakes legal proceedings via an employment tribunal or other channel. In some cases the harasser may have committed a criminal act and be liable for prosecution.

 6.   Policy Review

Reviewing and monitoring will be vital in ensuring that Christopher Hawgood's Equal Opportunities policy is working effectively. Periodic reviews of procedures and practices will be conducted to ensure that all employees, applicants, and clients continue to receive fair and equal treatment for purposes including selection, training, promotion, redundancy, dismissal, discipline and grievance. 

Therefore, the policy will be reviewed at least annually; and Christopher Hawgood guarantees that information gathered for the purposes of reviewing this policy will only be used for monitoring, and will be protected from misuse.

Christopher Hawgood,
Monday 10 November 2003

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