Equality and Diversity Policy Statement
The Oaklea Group is committed to the principles of equality of opportunity and respect for diversity throughout all aspects of its work.
This policy seeks to ensure that Oaklea Group complies with The Equality Act (2010) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 which protects employees, customers, contractors and stakeholders from direct or indirect discrimination based on the following:
- Gender identity
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Marriage and civil partnership
- Race, religion or belief (including lack of belief)
- Sexual orientation
The policy outlines how customers and employees will not be treated less favourably regarding the characteristics listed above in relation to:
- Access to goods, services, facilities and premises;
- Rights in work;
- Rights in health;
- Rights in education;
- Rights in motoring and transport.
1.1 All Group policies and practices will promote equality, respect diversity, enable citizenship and support social inclusion for all customers and employees.
1.2 The Group adopts practices that respect the rights of people with disabilities to privacy, dignity, independence, choice, spiritual beliefs and fulfilment in living their chosen lifestyles.
1.3 The Group aims to maintain and extend a fair working environment for all employees and job applicants through the development and revision of policies that promote equal opportunity in employment. This includes:
- Acting Up, Promotion and Transfer;
- Recruitment and Selection;
- Disciplinary and Termination;
- Terms and Conditions;
- Learning and Development.
1.4 The Group will monitor the make up of its workforce to ensure that it is broadly representative of the geographic locations where we recruit. We will ensure that opportunities for recruitment and promotion are open to the best candidate and no employee, volunteer or applicant is disadvantaged through direct or indirect discrimination due to age. Disability, gender, gender identity, pregnancy and maternity, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief (including lack of belief), sexual orientation or union membership.
The Group monitors its workforce demographics including health and ethnic grouping. This is reported to the Board.
1.5 Where appropriate, and where permissible under current legislation, the Group will promote positive action to ensure that under-represented groups are enabled and encouraged to take advantage of employment opportunities within the Group.
1.6 The Group will invite feedback and monitor outcomes for customers to ensure fair and equal access.
2. Treating Everyone with Respect
2.1 The Group expects all employees to act with:
- Integrity in all their dealings connected with its work and activities;
- Dignity and respect with regard to each person’s individual beliefs and identity.
2.2 It is the responsibility of all managers and supervisors to treat employees and customers in accordance with the above aims and the Group’s professional boundaries procedures. This involves:
2.2.1 Preventing and correcting misconduct
The Group will not tolerate threatening physical or verbal behaviour and/or any type of communication that is of a threatening or abusive nature, or causes alarm or distress. Harassment, bullying, intimidation, insults and the use of abusive and/or obscene language will not be tolerated. All such incidents will be addressed via the sanctions outlined in Section 5 and the Disciplinary procedure (C.HR.05).
2.2.2 Avoiding prejudice in recruitment of employees
All actions and decisions should be based only on consideration of an employee’s or applicant’s ability to perform the job (subject to any reasonable adjustments). No judgement may be made subject to any prejudice.
2.2.3 Encouraging individual employee and team development
The responsibility of line management is to help employees succeed both individually and as members of the team. All employees must always have an equal opportunity to develop themselves and their talents and to be considered for training, transfer and promotion.
2.2.4 Care and Support for Customers
Customers, accessing Oaklea care and support, will not be treated less favourably regarding the characteristics listed within the policy statement. Oaklea employees will support customers to be aware of their rights within the law in relation to equality and diversity matters.
2.2.5 Training for employees
All employees have Equality and Diversity training, which is renewed on an annual basis.
3. Complaints and Investigation
3.1 Any customer believing him or herself to have been discriminated against should make a complaint to the organisation using the published ‘Complaints Procedure’.
3.2 Any employee believing themselves to have been discriminated against should report this under the Group’s Grievance (Personal) procedure (C.HR.09).
3.3 Every effort will be made to preserve the confidentiality of both victim and alleged perpetrator, in accordance with the Group’s Whistleblowing policy (C.HR.26).
3.4 In cases of harassment, victimisation or discrimination linked to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010), investigation will commence within one working day of a complaint being lodged. Such investigation will be thorough and completed as quickly as possible with any appropriate sanctions applied fairly and swiftly.
3.5 To make a complaint of a breach of this policy it will be necessary to have:
- Details of the occurrence(s), and when and where it took place;
- Names of any witnesses;
- Details of any other complaints made about the incident, date etc;
- Details of others believed to have been treated in a similar way;
- Any preference for a mediated solution.
3.6 Where possible, details will be kept confidential. Findings following any investigation may be used at a disciplinary hearing.
3.7 As a CQC Registered Provider, Oaklea is obliged by Regulation 20, to follow the Duty of Candour. This places a legal requirement for health and social care organisations to inform people (or their families/carers acting on their behalf) when they have been harmed (physically or psychologically) as a result of the care or treatment they have received.
4.1. Allegations of harassment, victimisation or discrimination linked to a protected characteristic under the Equality Act (2010) will be classed as misconduct and dealt with under the Group’s disciplinary procedures. Serious breaches of this policy, even on a first occasion, may be regarded as gross misconduct.
4.2. The views of the victim will be taken into consideration during any investigation under this policy.