Equality & Diversity Policy


Procedure Number: 004


Equality & Diversity Policy

Date of Last Revision:


Date of Last Review:


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  • Purpose


1.1 Betterweld are committed to promoting equality and diversity and promoting a culture that actively values difference and recognises that people from different backgrounds and experiences can bring valuable insights to the workplace and enhance the way we work. We aim to be an inclusive organisation, where diversity is valued, respected and built upon, with ability to recruit and retain a diverse workforce that reflects the communities it serves. Within this framework Betterweld specifically refers to measures it has in place to provide equality of opportunity and the facilities that it can provide to its diverse workforce and job applicants.

1.2 We are also committed to compliance with relevant equality legislation, the Equality Act 2010, Codes of Practice and relevant best practice guidance. This policy pursues and builds on the statutory position to ensure effective policies and practice of promoting equality.

1.3 We aim to pro-actively tackle discrimination or disadvantage and aims to ensure that no individual or group is directly or indirectly discriminated against for any reason with regard to employment or accessing its services.

1.4 However we are also mindful of the provision in discrimination law for the rare circumstances when an organisation may need to justify discrimination rather than have a disproportionate effect. This could be, for instance, where there is a conflict with other legislation that we have to comply with or between service needs. In such circumstances we are committed to following the required proper assessment and objective justification of any decision in order to demonstrate that the provision, criterion or practice is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

1.5 Issues regarding harassment and bullying are covered in the Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Policy. For issues regarding recruitment refer also to the Recruitment policy.


  • The Definition of Equality and Diversity


2.1 Equality can be described as breaking down barriers, eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunity and access for all groups both in employment, and to goods and services; the basis of which is supported and protected by legislation.

2.2 Diversity can be described as celebrating differences and valuing everyone. Each person is an individual with visible and non-visible differences and by respecting this everyone can feel valued for their contributions which is beneficial not only for the individual but Betterweld.

2.3 Equality and Diversity are not inter-changeable but inter-dependent. There can be no equality of opportunity if difference is not valued and harnessed and taken account of.


  • Scope


3.1 This policy applies to direct employees of Betterweld, workers (engaged through, or by, an employment agency or bureau and supplied to us on a temporary basis), and all job applicants regarding recruitment

3.2 Where our services are provided by external contractors or third parties on the basis of a specification set by us, these contractors or third parties are responsible for adhering to our Equality and Diversity Policy whilst providing services on behalf of us.

3.3 This policy applies also to sub-contractors. We will monitor the performance of contractors and/or third parties and take all necessary steps to ensure good performance and compliance with appropriate behaviours. However, if any issues become apparent with regards to diversity or equality in relation to any contractor or third party, these will be taken very seriously by Canal and raised in the strongest possible terms with the contractor or third party.


  • Policy statement


4.1 We are committed to ensuring:

  • that existing members of staff, job applicants, or workers are treated fairly in an environment which is free from any form of discrimination
  • with regard to nine of the protected characteristics as outlined by the Equality Act 2010 which are:

    gender reassignment;
    marriage and civil partnership;
    pregnancy and maternity;
    race (includes colour, nationality and ethnic origins);
    religion and or belief;
    sexual orientation;

In addition, existing members of staff, job applicants, or workers are treated fairly in an environment which is free from any form of discrimination with regard to: caring responsibilities, part-time employment, membership or non-membership of a trade union or spent convictions.

  • all employment-related policies, practices and procedures are applied impartially and objectively;
  • equality of opportunity to all and to provide staff with the opportunity to develop and realise their full potential;
  • that we work towards achieving a diverse workforce at all levels
  • that employees can work in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.

4.2 The Equality and Diversity policy provides a clear framework for translating our policy into action. It outlines the responsibilities of the Board, CEO, Executive Team, managers and individuals to comply with the Equality Act 2010.

4.3 We will not tolerate processes, attitudes and behaviour that amounts to direct discrimination, associative discrimination, discrimination by perception indirect discrimination including harassment (harassment by a third party), victimisation and bullying through prejudice, ignorance, thoughtlessness and stereotyping.

4.4 We recognise the importance of monitoring, reviewing and reporting on its equality and diversity policy and practice and to measure progress in meeting our policy statement. (see Section 8).


  • Practical support for a diverse workforce


5.1 As an employer committed to diversity and equality we recognise our success depends on creating a working environment which supports the diverse make-up of its staff with supporting policies and procedures to create a framework of assistance.
5.2 Our Equality Impact Assessment policy also sets out the process for ensuring we take account of equality considerations which affect its staff and try to minimise or remove disadvantage.


  • Work/life balance


6.1 We aim to improve the working lives of our employees by having a framework of policies such as the Statutory Right to Request Flexible Working, Special Leave to help with caring responsibilities and domestic emergencies and Career Breaks.


  • Policies


7.1 All policies such as the Recruitment Policy, the Learning and Development policy, the Managing attendance and Guidance policy, Restructuring, Redeployment and Redundancy policy, the performance management process, remuneration opportunities, hours of work, are designed to promote equal opportunity and protection against discrimination for all employees.


  • Review and monitoring


8.1 We undertake monitoring that not only meets statutory requirements but also aims for best practice. This is used to inform and improve our employment practices. If through monitoring any discrimination is identified we will take corrective action to eliminate it.

8.2 The monitoring of our workforce is produced across all areas of employment practice and is discussed at the Equality and Diversity Working Group composed of management and the workforce representatives.

8.3 Such monitoring will be carried out using appropriate statistical analysis, and would normally deal with areas such as race, disability, gender, and age and ensure compliance with legislation. Any resultant statistics and analysis will be kept by Human Resources.

8.4 In addition, the Staff Survey is conducted regularly in order to gain the views of all employees and includes a section on diversity and the working environment. We will use the information from the Staff Survey to measure its record on meeting our equality and diversity policy aims.

8.5 We will publish our progress and achievements on equality / diversity in annual reports for instance:

  • Self Assessment Report & QIP

8.6 We may also be required to report the progress on equality and human rights to the Equality and Human Rights Commission.


  • Training


9.1 We are committed to ensuring its staff and managers are trained in equality and diversity and aims to ensure that adequate training is provided so that managers are able to operate this policy.  Examples include specific training on race, gender, gender identity, disability, sexuality, age and religion or belief, in accordance with the requirements of the law and good practice.

9.2 Diversity and equality forms an integral part of our induction package. Managers are to ensure that all new entrants are made aware of our Equality and Diversity Policy and Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination policy.



10.0 Communication

10.1 The Equality and Diversity policy is available as a printed document. Please contact HR Administration if you require a copy in an alternative format.

10.2 The details of this policy will be proactively communicated and promoted to all current staff and new starters.


11.0 Discrimination


11.1 Discrimination may take seven main forms and is defined in law along with the protective characteristics associated with each provision as listed below:

  • Direct Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic. Relevant protected characteristics include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage & civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity. For example, a manager does not select a pregnant woman for promotion even through they meet all of the competencies because they are pregnant. This is probably direct discrimination and cannot be justified.
  • Associative discrimination occurs when someone discriminates against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic. Relevant protected characteristics include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. An example of this is when a manager does not give a job-applicant the role, even though they have met all of the competencies for the role, just because the applicant tells the employer they have a disabled partner. This is probably associative discrimination because of disability by association.
  • Discrimination by perception occurs when someone discriminates against an individual because they think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic. Relevant protected characteristics include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. An example of this is when a manager selects a person for redundancy because they incorrectly think they have a progressive condition (i.e. that they are a disabled person). This is probably discrimination by perception because they believe the individual is disabled.
  • Indirect discrimination occurs when a seemingly neutral provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone places a group who share a characteristic e.g. type of disability at a particular disadvantage. Indirect discrimination may be justified if it can be shown that the provision, criterion or practice is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. An example of this is when an employer decides to apply a “no hats or headgear” rule to staff. If this rule is applied in exactly the same way to every member of staff, then staff who may cover their heads as part of their religion or cultural background (such as Sikhs, Jews, Muslims and Rastafarians) will not be able to meet this requirement of the dress code and may face disciplinary action as a result. Unless the employer can objectively justify using the rule, this will be indirect discrimination. Relevant protected characteristic include age, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. In addition, the Act extends protection against unjustified indirect discrimination to gender reassignment and disability.
  • Dual Discrimination occurs when someone is treated less favourably because of a combination of two relevant protected characteristics. This means that it will be possible for an applicant to claim that they have been treated less favourably not just because of their race but also because of their gender. For example, because the individual is an Asian woman. Relevant protected characteristic include age, disability, gender reassignment, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. (At present this new concept has not been implemented).
  • Detriment arising from a disability arises when you treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability. This type of discrimination is unlawful where the employer or other person acting for the employer knows, or could reasonably expected to know, that the person had a disability. This type of discrimination is only lawful if the action can be justified and the employer can show that is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim. An example of this when an employer imposes a “no beards” rule as a part of a dress code and tells staff they will be disciplined if they do not comply. The employee is a disabled person who has a skin condition which makes shaving very painful. They have been treated unfavourably (threat of disciplinary action) because of something arising from their disability (their inability to shave). Unless the employer can objectively justify the requirement, this may be a detriment arising from a disability. It may also be a failure to make a reasonable adjustment.
  • Victimisation occurs when an employer is treated unfavourably, disadvantaged or subjected to a detriment because they have made or supported a complaint of discrimination or raised a grievance under the Equality Act, this policy or the Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination policy or because they are suspected of doing so. (However, an employee is not protected from victimisation if they have maliciously made or supported an untrue complaint). An example, of this is when an employee requests to work flexibly and their manager refuses their request because they supported a colleague in a complaint of discrimination.
  • Third party harassment occurs when an employee is harassed by someone who does not work for the employing organisation such as a customer, visitors, client, contractor or visitors from another organisation. The employer will become legally responsible if they know an employee has been harassed on two or more occasions by someone and it may also be different individuals each time and fails to take reasonable steps to protect the employee from further harassment.

12.0 Complaints of Discrimination


12.1 We take all claims of discrimination very seriously and will take appropriate action against those concerned. Discrimination occurs when someone directly or indirectly treats a person or a group of people unfavourably because of a protected characteristic of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation. This covers all behaviour including remarks and insinuation, both verbal and non-verbal, which cause offence.

12.2 Any member of staff who is subject to harassment, bullying or discrimination is encouraged to refer to our policy on Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination. This provides details of the steps that can be taken to deal with such an issue. In addition, staff are reminded that they can obtain external, confidential help if they so wish by contacting ACAS

12.3 If a worker (engaged through, or by, an employment agency or bureau) considers they have been discriminated against they should raise their complaint directly with their employer.

13.0 People Strategy and Corporate Social Responsibility


13.1 We aim to be an employer of choice and through its People Strategy aims to ensure its workforce are able to make a valuable contribution to our work whilst ensuring we support our workforce’s health and well-being of the workforce.


14.0 Responsibility


14.1 All staff have a responsibility to guard against any form of discrimination and avoid any action which goes against the spirit of this policy. Thus staff at all levels must ensure that there is no discrimination in any of their decisions or behaviour. This includes the provision that all staff must:

  • report any suspected discriminatory acts or practices;
  • not induce or attempt to induce others to practice unlawful discrimination;
  • co-operate with any measures introduced to ensure equality of opportunity;
  • not victimise anyone as a result of them having complained about, reported or provided evidence of discrimination;
  • not harass, abuse or intimidate others.

14.2 However, whilst all staff have a collective responsibility to ensure this policy is successfully implemented, there are also specific responsibilities within this.

The Board, Chief Executive and the Executive Team are responsible for:

  • Providing leadership on the equality and diversity strategy and policy, acting as overall champions to ensure the policy is implemented;
  • Communicating the strategy and policy, internally and externally;

Managers at all levels are responsible for:

  • Implementing the policy as part of their day-to day management of staff and in applying employment policies and practices in a fair and equitable way
  • Ensuring equality and diversity issues are addressed in performance.
  • Ensuring all staff act in accordance with the equality and diversity policy providing necessary support and direction;
  • Effectively manage and deal promptly when investigating issues relating to potential discrimination, including those matters concerning our visitors
  • Ensuring all policy or service decisions that will change provisions, practices or policies and affect the workforce are Equality Impact Assessed as required. For further information refer to the Equality Impact assessment policy.

Each employee is responsible for:

  • Implementing the policy in their day-to-day work and their dealings with colleagues, readers and visitors;
  • Ensuring their behaviour is appropriate to the policy and that they treat people with respect and dignity;
  • Not discriminating against other employees or service users
  • Notifying their line manager of any concerns with regard to the conduct of other employees, service users, the public or third parties.

Human Resources are responsible for:

  • Developing employment policy and strategy on equality and diversity;
  • Providing guidance to line managers and staff;
  • Supporting managers in investigating issues relating to potential discrimination, including those matters concerning our visitors;
  • Monitoring employment policies and practices;
  • Championing the issues, internally and externally;
  • Facilitating training and development initiatives on equality and diversity, both at corporate and directorate level.

14.3 Non- Compliance with Policy - We will not tolerate any behaviour from staff which breaches our equality and diversity policy. Any such breaches will be regarded as misconduct except for serious offences such as discrimination on protected grounds; serious offences including harassment, bullying, or victimisation will be treated as gross misconduct and may lead to disciplinary action including dismissal from employment without notice.


15.0 Policy Responsibility


15.1 Human Resources has the responsibility for ensuring the maintenance, regular review and updating of this policy.Top of Form


16.0 Revisions




Pages / Sections

Issue Status

Amendment Details



Issue 1

First issue of policy