Equal Opportunities

Introduction

Parliament has introduced legislation to address unjustified discrimination in employment.  The legislation emphasises that employees and prospective employees are entitled to expect fair and unbiased treatment.  Dartmoor National Park Authority is committed to eliminating discrimination and promoting equality and diversity through its recruitment, selection and employment practices.

Policy Statement

Dartmoor National Park Authority will provide equal opportunities in employment and will not discriminate either directly or indirectly on any of the grounds designated as protected characteristics in Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010—

  • age
  • disability
  • gender reassignment
  • marriage and civil partnership
  • pregnancy and maternity
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sex
  • sexual orientation

The Authority will take positive steps to ensure that the workplace is free from discrimination, harassment and victimisation and will act promptly on any complaints in an appropriate manner. The Authority also affirms its commitment to treat part-time staff in a manner that is no less favourable than that enjoyed by full-time staff, having regard for national and local conditions of service and to statute.

The Authority will apply employment policies which are fair, equitable and recognise the skills and abilities of its employees. This Equal Opportunities Policy will help to ensure that all job applicants and employees are accorded equal opportunities in recruitment, training and promotion, and equal pay, terms and conditions of employment for jobs of equal value.  In particular, appointments and promotions will be based on an objective assessment of the skills and abilities needed to perform the required jobs.

Purpose of Policy

This policy statement makes clear the responsibility on the Authority, its managers and its employees to take positive steps to incorporate the spirit of the law into employment and service practices, and to comply with this policy in the furtherance of equal opportunities.

The Authority believes that an effective equal opportunities policy is an essential means of demonstrating the value of its employees and developing the potential of all its individual employees.

The Authority recognises that its employment practices must comply with the Equality Act 2010 as well as other legislation. Codes of Practice produced by the Equality & Human Rights Commission will form the basis of any measures introduced to ensure greater equality of opportunity.

Responsibilities

The overall responsibility for ensuring effective implementation of this policy rests with the Chief Executive (NPO). This responsibility includes ensuring that all employees are notified of the details of the policy and are aware of its implications through the provision of appropriate training.

All line managers have responsibility for promoting equality of opportunity in their own team, and must ensure that their own procedures and practices comply with the provisions of this policy. The performance and example of managers is crucial to improving opportunities for disadvantaged groups and members of staff.

Individual employees at all levels have responsibility for ensuring that equality of opportunity is consistently provided in all of the Authority’s employment practices, and its activities.

All employees should be aware that whilst an employer can be held liable in law for acts of discrimination committed by employees, so too can individual employees be held personally liable in law for acts of discrimination which they commit, authorise, contribute to, or condone in relation to other employees and members of the public.

All employees, therefore, should be aware that the following acts are unlawful and/or would constitute misconduct which would make them liable to disciplinary action, which may include dismissal:

  • Unlawfully discriminating in the course of their employment against members of the public, employees or job applicants.
  • Inducing, or attempting to induce, employees to practice unlawful discrimination.
  • Indulging in verbal or physical, sexual or racial harassment of a nature which is known, or should be known, to be offensive to the victim.
  • Victimising individuals who have made allegations or complaints of discrimination or harassment or provided information about discrimination or harassment.
  • Engaging in unacceptable behaviour while at work or on Authority business, including but not limited to racist, sexist and other offensive language.

All employees are responsible for ensuring that equality of opportunity is applied consistently in the Authority’s dealings with the general public.

If things go wrong

If you believe that you have been the subject of unlawful discrimination or any behaviour in breach of this Equal Opportunity Policy or any of the Authority’s policies relating to discrimination and acceptable behaviour, you should ask to speak in confidence with one of the following people:

  • Your line manager
  • The Head of Organisational Development
  • The Authority’s Monitoring Officer

If you are a member of a trade union, you may also wish to ask for support from a trade union representative.

Role of the trade union

The Authority welcomes the clearly stated support for equality of opportunity from UNISON and acknowledges the important role that trade unions can play in achieving the objectives of this policy. The Authority will consult with the appropriate trade union(s) over the introduction of measures to implement, revise and evaluate the effectiveness of this policy.

(Note: see also National Agreement on Pay and Conditions of Service: Part 2 Paragraph 1)