Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Protocol

Section 1: Purpose

Everyone should be treated the same.  No-one should receive less favourable treatment because of their age, race,  gender, disability, sexual preference, colour, religion or ethnic origin. As an equal opportunities employer, we strive to build an inclusive working environment for everyone and create a culture where everyone can reach their fullest potential.

This protocol sets out our commitment to equal opportunities and the avoidance of discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (Protected Characteristics).

This protocol applies to all aspects of employment with us; recruitment, terms and conditions, communications, training, objective reviews, career development, disciplinary and grievance protocols, and termination of employment.

We are committed to treating all colleagues  with dignity and respect. To ensure our working environment is inclusive for individuals with any protected characteristics, whether those individuals are colleagues, associates, clients, visitors or suppliers.

This protocol does not form part of any oomph's contract of employment or associate agreements and we may amend it at any time.

Section 2: Scope

Every colleague is responsible for upholding this protocol and the law. Every role has an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) part to it, and all colleagues have a responsibility to:

  • apply the values of this protocol in their work and roles
  • support and enable visitors to abide by the policy
  • take a zero-tolerance approach and consider the immediate action in the event of allegations of bullying, harassment, victimisation and any other forms of discrimination and alert the oomph Life Organiser.
  • In relation personal conduct, we commit to EDI by:
  • treating colleagues with respect, fairness, understanding and in a consistent way, where inappropriate behaviour is not accepted
  • provide a welcoming and supportive environment for you to be who you are, irrespective of your gender identity. We will provide a supportive environment for colleagues who are considering, undergoing or who have undergone transition, as provided for under the Equality Act 2010
  • provide fair access to learning and development opportunities that are appropriate to your development, through objective settings.
  • treating colleagues fairly and without bias in recruitment, promotion and progression, which will be conducted on the basis of merit, against objective criteria that avoids discrimination. For more guidance on the recruitment process please refer to the Recruitment Protocol 
  • conduct a fair and relevant review of performance, allowing you to assess your knowledge, skills and behaviours in relation to what is expected of you
  • make reasonable adjustments for you or applicants who are disabled or become disabled. We encourage you to tell us about your condition so that we can consider what reasonable adjustments or support may be appropriate. For more support on reasonable adjustments in the workplace please contact the oomph life organiser
  • resolve any difficulties and disagreements amicably.

Section 3: Responsibilities

All colleagues are responsible for:

  • reading and understanding this protocol and supporting policies
  • working alongside each other to create, sustain an inclusive environment where differences are respected and valued
  • ensuring that everyone is treated with respect. Mindful of how actions may be perceived and being alert to the sensitivities of other individuals.
  • reporting behaviours of others that are in breach of this protocol to the oomph life organiser.

oomph Life Organiser is responsible for investigating and addressing inappropriate behaviour where it is seen and/or asked to investigate.  Ensuring that decisions affecting employment, training, promotion and career development are fair, objective and free from discrimination.

Section 4: Definitions And Relevant Law  

We define diversity and inclusion as follows:

  • Diversity is understanding, accepting, respecting and valuing differences between people.
  • Inclusion is empowering colleagues and offering opportunities for all to reach their potential.

The Equality Act 2010  protection against discrimination on the grounds of:

Age - Where this is referred to, it refers to a person belonging to a particular age or range of ages. 

Disability (Also includes learning disability or difficulty, long-term health condition and neurodiverse conditions) - A person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. Under the Act, the individual does not have to show that their impairment affects a particular capacity such as mobility, speech, hearing or eyesight.

Gender reassignment (Transitioning) - The process of transitioning from one gender to another. The definition has changed so that people no longer have to be under medical supervision to be protected by the law. Gender Reassignment continues to cover those who intend to live permanently in a gender other than the one assigned at birth.

Marriage and civil partnership - In England and Wales marriage is no longer restricted to a union between a man and a woman, but now includes a marriage between a same-sex couple. Same-sex couples can also have their relationships legally recognised as ‘civil partnerships’. Civil partners must not be treated less favourably than married couples (except where permitted by The Equality Act).

Pregnancy and maternity - Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth and is linked to maternity leave in the employment context. In the non-work context, protection against maternity discrimination is for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.

Race - A group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

Religion and belief - Religion has the meaning usually given to it, but belief includes religious and philosophical beliefs including lack of belief (e.g., Atheism). Generally, a belief should affect your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition.

Sex - The word ‘gender’ is often used in place of the word ‘sex’ in equality issues. ‘Gender’ does not appear in legislation (except for ‘gender re-assignment’ – see above) but ‘sex discrimination’ and ‘gender discrimination’ are generally interchangeable.

Sexual orientation - Whether a person’s sexual attraction is towards their own sex, the opposite sex or to both sexes. Assumptions and perceptions of a person’s sexuality are also covered by law.

Section 5: Discrimination   

You must not unlawfully discriminate against or harass other people including current and former colleagues, job applicants, clients, suppliers and visitors. This applies in the workplace, on oomph social networks, on work-related trips or events including social events. This includes discrimination because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.

The following forms of discrimination are prohibited under this policy and are unlawful:

Direct discrimination: treating someone less favourably because of a Protected Characteristic. For example, rejecting a job applicant because of their religious views or because they might be gay.

Indirect discrimination: a provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone but adversely affects people with a particular Protected Characteristic more than others, and is not justified.

Harassment: includes sexual harassment and other unwanted conduct related to a Protected Characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating someone's dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them. 

Victimisation: retaliation against someone who has complained or has supported someone else's complaint about discrimination or harassment.

Disability discrimination: this includes direct and indirect discrimination, any unjustified less favourable treatment because of the effects of a disability, and failure to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate disadvantages caused by a disability.

We believe many matters can be dealt with informally at an early stage. Any allegations will be investigated, and ultimately disciplined, in accordance with the Disciplinary protocol. 

If you believe that you have suffered discrimination you can raise the matter through our Grievance protocol. Complaints will be treated in confidence and investigated as appropriate.

Section 6: Recruitment And Selection  

Recruitment, promotion and other selection exercises such as redundancy selection will be conducted on the basis of merit, against objective criteria that avoid discrimination. Shortlisting should be done by more than one person if possible.

Vacancies generally are advertised to a diverse section of the labour market. Advertisements avoid stereotyping or using wording that may discourage particular groups from applying.

Job applicants are not asked questions which might suggest an intention to discriminate on grounds of a Protected Characteristic e.g. applicants are not asked whether they are pregnant or planning to have children. Nor are job applicants asked about health or disability before a job offer is made, except in the very limited circumstances allowed by law  e.g. to check that the applicant could perform an intrinsic part of the job (taking account of any reasonable adjustments), or to see if any adjustments might be needed at interview because of a disability. Where necessary, job offers can be made conditional on a satisfactory medical check. Health or disability questions may be included in equal opportunities monitoring forms, which is not used for selection or decision-making purposes.

Section 7: Breaches Of This Protocol 

We take a strict approach to breaches of this protocol, which will be dealt with in accordance with our Disciplinary Protocol. Serious cases of deliberate discrimination may amount to gross misconduct which will result in dismissal.

You must not be victimised or retaliated against for complaining about discrimination. Making a false allegation deliberately and/or in bad faith will be treated as misconduct and dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.

Section 8: Legislative Context 

This protocol should also be used in conjunction with the following protocols and procedures:

  • Bullying, Harassment 
  • Data Protection and Freedom-of-information
  • Code of Conduct
  • Disciplinary Protocol 
  • Recruitment Protocol 
  • Whistleblowing Protocol