Disability Policy

Policy statement

LCTVE is committed to a policy of equal opportunities in employment whereby individuals are selected, trained, promoted and treated on the basis of their relevant merits, skills and competency.

All members of staff and job applicants will receive equal treatment regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, sex, marital status, disability, religion, political belief, socio-economic background, parental status, trade union membership, sexual orientation and age

Implementation

The Director of Human Resources (HR) has overall responsibility for the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the policy which is approved and supported by Centre. The training centre is committed to a programme of action to ensure that this policy is effective by:

·         advising the training centre’s senior management, other appropriate members of staff and committees of the training centre in matters of equal opportunities in employment;

·         providing training and/or guidance in the equal opportunities policy and those provisions, relevant to their responsibilities, of the Equal Opportunities Legislation detailed below.

·         stating on relevant material that it is an equal opportunities employer;

·         ensuring that all material will be consistent with the training centre’s equal opportunities policy;

·         issuing each member of staff with a copy of this statement;

·         including a reference to the equal opportunities policy in terms and conditions of employment and asking new employees to confirm that they have read the policy as part of their terms and conditions of employment.

Equal Opportunities and the Law

·         The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006

·         The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003

·         The Employment Equality (Religious Orientation) Regulations 2003

·         Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000

·         Human Rights Act 1998

·         Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Amended 2005

·         Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (amended 1986, extended 1999 to include Gender Reassignment)

·         Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974

There is no service requirement (length of service) for raising complaints under equal opportunities legislation at employment tribunals. Prospective employees may therefore lodge a claim if they believe they have been the victim of discriminatory employment practices.

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations (2006)

These regulations have been introduced to ensure age equality within recruitment, selection, promotion, training & development, redundancy and retirement practices. This means that it is essential for organisations not to recruit, select, promote, develop, nor make individuals redundant on the basis of age. In terms of retirement practices, mandatory retirement ages below 65 years will be outlawed, those under the age of 65 may retire early if they wish, and should those individuals over the age of 65 wish to continue working, they have the right to request this. The training centre has ensured that this legislation is reflected throughout the organisation and is inherent within its policies and procedures.

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (2003)

These regulations stipulate that it is unlawful for someone to be treated less favourably in the workplace because of their sexual orientation, their perceived sexual orientation or because they associate with someone of a particular sexual orientation. Sexual orientation is defined as either having a sexual attraction towards persons of the same sex, persons of the opposite sex or persons of both sexes. The implications of these Regulations are for the training centre to ensure it does not discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of their sexual orientation.

The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations (2003)

In a similar way to the above, it is unlawful to treat employees or job workers less favourably because they follow, are perceived to follow or do not follow a particular (or any) religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief.

Race Relations (Amendment) Act (2000) – RRAA

The RRAA came into force in April 2001 and amended the Race Relations Act 1976. The amended act takes equality requirements one step further under the law than other earlier Equal Opportunities legislation. This is because it places a positive duty on organisations to promote equality as well as ensuring employment practices are non-discriminatory.

Organisations must ensure that racial equality is a fundamental part of strategic planning and management processes. Steps must be taken to ensure all systems and procedures comply with the legislation and action must be taken to engender change where necessary. Organisations must collect data and analyse and assess it against publicly available benchmarks to measure performance and effectiveness and to identify how the organisation might improve.

In relation to recruitment and selection the training centre has reviewed procedures to ensure compliance with the RRAA and to promote practices that will assist in raising good practice in race relations. This will also be of benefit in raising the profile of other under represented groups. The detailed advice is contained throughout the recruitment and selection guidance pack and is incorporated in all stages of the process from drawing up the job description to interviews, references and vetting of candidates. Further information can be found in the training centre’s Policy Promoting Race Equality and Codes of Practice.

Human Rights Act (1998)

The Human Rights Act came into force on2nd October 2000, and covers 16 basic human rights. These range from freedom from torture and killing to individual rights in everyday life. The Act also covers the right not to be treated differently because of your race, religion, sex, political views or any other status, unless it can be objectively justified

Disability Discrimination Act (1995, extended 2005) – DDA

The DDA applies to anyone who ha s a physical, sensory or mental impairment, which has a substantial long term and adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. It is against the law for an employer to treat a disabled person less favourably than an able bodied person because of their disability, unless this can be justified. This applies to all employment matters (including recruitment, training, promotion and dismissal). Discriminatory employment practice will not be justified based on past or previous disabilities e.g. a person who has a history of mental illness. In 2005, a new Disability Discrimination Act came into force, which extends the existing provisions in the DDA 1995. In particular, those who have HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis are now covered by the DDA from the moment they are diagnosed. In order to help a disabled person compete on equal terms with an able bodied person, employers will have to look at what changes they could make to the workplace or to the way the work is done as a means of negating or limiting the affect of the disability or providing for it by making any changes that are reasonable. Employers are able to take into account how much the changes will cost and how much they will help, when considering what is reasonable.

Employers are still able to recruit or promote the best person for the job based on an assessment of the skills/abilities of candidates when reasonable adjustments or modifications have been made. Employers are not expected to make any changes which would break health and safety laws

Sex Discrimination Act (1975, amended 1986, extended 1999) and Equal Pay Act (1970)

These Acts require that employers do not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, between men and women, or married and unmarried people, in recruitment or in any other way in their treatment of employees.

Equal treatment, in respect of pay, terms of contract and employment, must be given to men and women doing the same or broadly similar work.

The Sex Discrimination Act also:

·         Granted individuals a right of direct access to employment tribunals for legal remedies for unlawful discrimination and established the Equal Opportunities Commission to help enforce the legislation and promote equal opportunities and provide information and advice.

In 1999, the Sex Discrimination Act was extended to make it unlawful to discriminate against an employee intending to, undergoing or having undergone, gender reassignment. (Gender reassignment is defined as a process undertaken under medical supervision for the purpose of reassigning a person’s sex by changing physiological or other characteristics of sex).

Rehabilitation of Offenders Acts (1974)

·         The aim of this Act is to make working life easier for those who have been convicted of a criminal offence.

·         An ex-offender after a period of rehabilitation has no need to disclose a previous conviction unless his or her sentence exceeded 2.5 years of imprisonment.

·         Once a conviction becomes ‘spent’ an employer cannot refuse to employ, dismiss or otherwise discriminate against an ex-offender on the grounds of a previous conviction.

·         However certain posts are exempt from the Act. Examples of these include medical, nursing and midwifery posts, any posts that involve contact with vulnerable people, as well as all posts requiring admission to professional register. In these cases spent convictions have to be disclosed.

·         If any convictions are disclosed they are not necessarily a bar to employing that person; the relevance of the offence to the duties of the job must be considered at the short-listing stage

Recruitment and Selection

Those responsible for recruiting and selecting candidates are advised to attend the training centre’s Recruitment and Selection courses. Training and guidance will be provided on good selection practice with particular reference to equal opportunities considerations.

Working Arrangements

Subject to operational requirements, the training centre will give sympathetic consideration to members of staff whose personal circumstances change and will attempt to accommodate these by varying working arrangements, retraining or redeployment..

 

Working Environment

The training centre is committed to developing and maintaining a working environment which encourages all members of staff to contribute fully to the life and work of the training centre, which is supportive of the dignity and self-esteem of individuals, and which ensures that they are free from harassment.
Consideration will be given to whether certain communications should be in languages other than English, for example health and safety notices, workplace rules.

Harassment

It is the responsibility of all staff to ensure that individuals do not suffer any form of harassment and that they are supported in any legitimate complaint. Senior staff, managers and supervisors have a particular responsibility for providing a working environment free from harassment.

Racial harassment is committing or inciting any hostile or offensive act or expression by a person of one racial or ethnic origin against a person of another and which is motivated by racial or ethnic difference. Such behaviour includes derogatory name calling, insults and racist jokes, racist graffiti, verbal abuse and threats, physical attack and ridicule of an individual because of cultural differences.

Sexual harassment occurs in a variety of situations which share a common element i.e. The inappropriate introduction of sexual activity or comments into a work situation. It often involves relationships of unequal power and may contain elements of coercion. Sexual harassment includes: unwanted sexual advances, sexually explicit remarks or innuendoes, intentional physical contact, the display of pornographic, sexually offensive or inappropriate material, verbal threats or abuse, and other actions which cause the person to feel threatened or humiliated. Sexual harassment can be experienced by members of either sex.

Other forms of harassment can include bullying or repeated reference to personal traits, appearance, sexual orientation, disability, religion and age. Actions designed to undermine an individual’s professional competence or confidence is a misuse of power or position. Such actions may include public or persistent unwarranted criticism of work performance or exclusion from normal work activities. The distinction between strong management and bullying is that, whilst the former is intended to promote desired work performance, the latter is intended to hurt or undermine the individual.

Differences in culture or attitude, and misinterpretation of certain social signals, can mean that what is perceived as harassment by one person may not seem so to another. The defining feature, however, is that the behaviour is intimidating to the recipient and would be regarded as harassment by any reasonable person.

Dealing with Harassment

Some forms of harassment can be remedied by approaching the person, explaining the nature of the complaint and stating that the behaviour is unacceptable. This may be sufficient to stop the behaviour. If the behaviour does not stop, the complainant can then advise the person that they will make a note of the details and dates of any relevant incidents (to include the way in which the behaviour may have affected his/her day-to- day activities) with a view to bringing a formal complaint if the behaviour does not stop.

Senior staff, managers and supervisors should consider complaints of harassment with all possible speed and take appropriate action as quickly as possible. Any investigation should be independent, objective and handled confidentially with respect for the rights of both the complainant and the alleged harasser.

The training centre will regard any incidents of harassment extremely seriously. If a complaint of harassment is upheld, disciplinary action will follow. Any disciplinary action will be taken in accordance with existing training centre procedures.

The training centre is in the process of recruiting a network of voluntary Advisers who will provide a confidential and informal support and advisory service to staff who believe they are being harassed. Once the recruitment process is complete, each voluntary Adviser will receive training for his or her role. Further details of the network will be published when finalised.

In the meantime, if you believe you are suffering harassment of any nature, please contact either your HR Adviser or your Trade Union representative for advice and support

Promotion and Regarding

All criteria and procedures will continue to be examined and reviewed to ensure that they comply with this policy and are operated fairly

Staff Development and Career Development

The principles of Equal Opportunities are embedded within all the activities of the Staff Development Unit. Where practicable, training events, workshops and other development activities will take into consideration individual particular needs such as learning difficulties, disabilities or domestic responsibilities.

Review

The principal will report annually to Centre having taken the advice of the Director of HR and the Equal Opportunities Consultative Committee-

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