Preparing your Equality Policy
March 2008 (Creativebias)
Although not required by law, it’s recommended that the starting point to promote fairness at work should be an Equality Policy, with an action plan to support it.
What’s an Equality Policy for?
This states your values concerning equality and diversity, and how you intend to implement them in your business.
It also demonstrates to staff and clients that you are serious about equality, and sets out what type of behaviour you expect, and how unacceptable behaviour will be dealt with.
For an equality policy to be effective, it must have the support of everyone in the organisation, and be an integral aspect of the business strategy. Therefore, whilst involving managers, workers and their representatives in drawing up the policy might seem a long-winded process, it will probably save time in the long run.
What should be included?
All equality policies have many things in common but to make yours workable, your policy should relate to the size and make up of the organisation and the nature of its business.
The opening section should include:
- A statement of your goal that encourages and manages diversity;
- Your commitment to providing equality for all;
- Your aim of having a workforce representative of the area you operate in;
The next section should identify the areas of discrimination you will oppose. Those covered by law from October 2006 in UK are:
- Religion & belief
- Sexual orientation
Bear in mind that there may be other legislation that is particularly relevant to your industry, or local circumstances.
The third section usually states that you aim to provide a working environment which is free from discrimination, harassment and bullying, so that everyone involved (staff, clients and visitors) can operate in a relaxed, fair atmosphere.
The policy then concludes with more specific information, such as an action plan which includes:
- Measurable objectives and targets
- A strategy for making the policy known to workers at all levels
- Staff training and guidance
- Regular reviews of all personnel procedures (staffing, training, disciplinary and grievance issues); and the equality policy itself
- Your Human Resources Grievance Policy (which also covers harassment and bullying) should classify breach of the Equality Policy as a serious misconduct