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Equality and Diversity Policy

It is Parseq’s intention that everyone who comes into contact with the Company will be treated equally and with respect, regardless of their characteristics concerning race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or similar belief, or age, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity or membership or non -membership of a Trade Union or asserting a statutory right.

1. Overview

It is Parseq’s intention that everyone who comes into contact with the Company will be treated equally and with respect, regardless of their characteristics concerning race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, religion or similar belief, or age, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity or membership or non membership of a Trade Union or asserting a statutory right.

We are opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination, bullying and harassment. All job applicants, employees and others who work for us will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the above grounds. Decisions about recruitment and selection, promotion, training, or any other benefit will be made objectively and without unlawful discrimination.

Parseq recognise that nurturing high performance through the development of a diverse workforce is essential if we are to create an atmosphere at work that is conducive to individual growth and to remain successful in a competitive industry. Furthermore, Parseq are committed to ensuring that all decisions relating to the employment and development of our employees are objective and based on merit, whilst continuing to support the overall business goals.

To help us ensure that diversity exists and is nurtured within the workplace, we are committed to maintaining good practice in relation to equal opportunities and will regularly review and update our policies in this area on a regular basis, in line with legislative changes and best practice requirements.

The company will not tolerate unacceptable behaviour in or outside the workforce. All employees are expected to treat each other with dignity and respect and this policy is to and work in with employees to ensure that unacceptable behaviours are not committed.

2. Aims and objectives

The aim of this policy is to communicate the commitment of Parseq to the promotion of equality of opportunity in the Company and to ensure that all employees, regardless of their personal characteristics, are treated with dignity and respect and are encouraged to meet their full potential whilst working in a non-threatening environment free of harassment, bullying, discrimination and victimisation.

Therefore, this policy will also stipulate the behaviours that should be observed to encourage Equality & Diversity within Parseq and ensure that unacceptable behaviours are not committed.

3. Policy applies to:

This policy applies to you if you are a:

• Parseq Group employee irrelevant of hours worked or contract type

• A Temporary Agency worker or Self-Employed Contractor

It is an expectation that all individuals carrying out work on behalf of Parseq adhere to the Equality and Diversity Policy.

4. Scope

Parseq recognise our legal obligations in relation to equal opportunities and best practice. In achieving these obligations, this Policy is to be applied to all aspects of the Company’s business and all areas of employment are covered, from job adverts and the recruitment process, terms, and conditions of work, conduct during employment and social events at work.

It also covers dismissal and any work-related matters arising after employment has ended, such as the giving of references or refusal to give a reference.

5. Employee Responsibility

Every employee is required to assist the Company to meet its commitment to provide equal opportunities in employment and avoid unlawful discrimination and harassment. Regardless of level or position within the company, all employees have a responsibility to:

• Take full, personal responsibility for the practical application of the Equality and Diversity policy within their scope of activity

• Ensure that their behaviour at work is consistent with the strategic outcomes and working principles set out in this policy

• Behave in a manner which does not cause offence to others.

• Co-operate with measures introduced to ensure equal opportunity and non- discrimination

• Not themselves unlawfully discriminate against other employees or induce others to do so

• Not victimise others on the grounds that they have made complaints or provided information on discrimination

• Not harass or intimidate others in pursuance of unlawful Discrimination

• Inform management if they suspect any form of discrimination, bullying or harassment is taking place

It is everybody’s responsibility to eliminate any form of discrimination, bullying and harassment and to bring any such cases to the Company’s attention, so that it may take whatever steps are necessary to address them.

Employees can be held personally liable as well as, or instead of, the Company for any act of unlawful discrimination. Employees who commit serious acts of harassment may be guilty of a criminal offence.

Acts of discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation against employees or customers are disciplinary offences and will be dealt with under the Company’s disciplinary procedure. Discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation may constitute gross misconduct and could lead to dismissal without notice.

Where an agency worker or contractor has breached, or is impacted by a breach in this policy, the company will work with the agency and appropriate parties to fully investigate and resolve the concerns that have been raised.

Parseq expects that any complaint received will be made in good faith. Anyone bringing a proven malicious complaint will be subject to disciplinary action.

6. Line Manager Responsibility

• Managers will ensure that employees under their control have understood the need to follow and adhere to the company’s policy on equality and diversity.

• Managers will, in the first instance, be the recipients of any allegations of discrimination or harassment.

• They should then contact their local HR Team and follow the appropriate procedure (see the Grievance Procedure and the Disciplinary Policy).

• Managers will ensure that the complainant, and any employee who gives supplementary evidence, are not victimised for raising their concerns.

• Managers must not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against individuals or groups of people in their selection process for the shortlisting of candidates. Managers will pass their candidate assessment forms or interview notes from the recruitment process to the Recruitment Team.

• Managers will ensure that all their reports have access to the same opportunities for promotion, internal transfers and/or training. Managers will have a positive duty to modify interview arrangements, make reasonable adjustments to the job, the tools for the job, the working environment, and the premises to enable candidates with a disability to perform the job role and thus be considered equally for that role alongside able-bodied candidates.

7. Equality and Diversity in Employment

The Company will avoid unlawful discrimination in all aspects of employment including recruitment, promotion, opportunities for training, pay and benefits, discipline, and selection for redundancy.

Person and job specifications will be limited to those requirements that are necessary for the effective performance of the job. Candidates for employment or promotion will be assessed objectively against the requirements for the job, taking account of any reasonable adjustments that may be required for candidates with a disability. Disability and personal, or home, commitments will not form the basis of employment decisions except where necessary.

The Company will consider any possible indirectly discriminatory effect of its standard working practices, including the number of hours to be worked, the times at which these are to be worked and the place at which work is to be done, when considering requests for variations to these standard working practices and will refuse such requests only if the Company considers it has good reasons, unrelated to any protected characteristic, for doing so. The Company will comply with its obligations in relation to statutory requests for contract variations.

Disability

Parseq is committed to giving full and fair consideration to every application received from people with disabilities.

When a person with a disability applies for a position within Parseq, every consideration should be given as to how we can make the working environment suitable for the person according to their disability, which would include considering adjusting hours, modifying the work location, and providing or modifying equipment, where the adjustment and cost of this is reasonable.

Where existing employees become disabled, Parseq will give every consideration to making reasonable adjustments to such working practices as hours or place of work, the adaptation of equipment, provision for time off for rehabilitation, job redesign, retraining or offer of other suitable alternative employment to retain the skills of the employee, etc.

Part Time

Part-time employees should be treated in the same way as full-time employees with regard to promotion and training opportunities. All part-time employees will be entitled to the same remuneration and benefits as full time employees on a pro-rata basis. Overtime payments where applicable will be paid only after the normal full time contractual hours have been worked.

Customers, suppliers, and other people not employed by the Company

Parseq will not discriminate unlawfully against customers using or seeking to use goods, facilities or services provided by the Company.

Employees should report any bullying or harassment by customers, suppliers, visitors, or others to their manager who will take appropriate action.

8. Unlawful Discrimination

Types of unlawful discrimination

Direct discrimination is where a person is treated less favourably than another because of a protected characteristic. An example of direct discrimination would be refusing to employ a woman because she was pregnant.

In limited circumstances, employers can directly discriminate against an individual for a reason related to any of the protected characteristics where there is an occupational requirement. The occupational requirement must be crucial to the post and a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

Indirect discrimination is where a provision, criterion or practice is applied that is discriminatory in relation to individuals who have a relevant protected characteristic compared to those who do not. An example of indirect discrimination would be to request that all employees are clean shaven, effectively putting members of some religious groups at a disadvantage.

Harassment is where there is unwanted conduct related to one of the protected characteristics which has the purpose of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that person, or is reasonably considered by that person to have the effect of violating his or her dignity or of creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for him or her, even if this effect was not intended by the person responsible for the conduct.

Associative discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed for association with another individual who has a protected characteristic.

Perceptive discrimination is where an individual is directly discriminated against or harassed based on a perception that he/she has a particular protected characteristic when he/she does not, in fact, have that protected characteristic.

Failure to make reasonable adjustments is where a physical feature or a provision, criterion or practice puts a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with someone who does not have that protected characteristic and the employer has failed to make reasonable adjustments to enable the disabled person to overcome the disadvantage.

Victimisation is where an employee is subjected to a detriment, such as being denied a training opportunity or a promotion because he/she made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act 2010, or because he/she is suspected of doing so. However, an employee is not protected from victimisation if he/she acted maliciously or made or supported an untrue complaint. There is no longer a need for a complainant to compare his/her treatment with someone who has not made or supported a complaint under the Equality Act 2010. For example, if a blind employee raises a grievance that the employer is not complying with its duty to make reasonable adjustments and is then systematically excluded from all meetings; such behaviour could amount to victimisation.

9. Procedure for Raising a Complaint

The procedure for raising a complaint related to working for Parseq is detailed in the Grievance Procedure. If your complaint involves bullying or harassment, the grievance procedure is modified as set out in the bullying and harassment policy.

The Company will take any complaint seriously and will seek to resolve any grievance which it upholds.

You will not be penalised for raising a grievance, even if your grievance is not upheld, unless your complaint is both untrue and made in bad faith.

Use of the Company’s grievance procedure does not affect your right to make a complaint to an employment tribunal. Complaints to an employment tribunal must normally be made within three months beginning with the act of discrimination complained.

10. Training

Parseq may provide training in equal opportunities to managers and others likely to be involved in recruitment or other decision making where equal opportunities issues are likely to arise. The Company works hard to create a working environment free of bullying and harassment. Any complaints of bullying and/or harassment will be taken very seriously and investigated as part of the Company Grievance Policy. You will not be penalised for raising a grievance, even if your grievance is not upheld, unless your complaint is both untrue and made in bad faith.

11. Dignity at Work

The organisation has a separate dignity at work policy concerning issues of bullying and harassment on any ground, and how complaints of this type will be dealt with.

12. Contact

If anything is unclear, please contact your Line Manager and ultimately, HR.

13. Other Related Policies/Documents

• Attendance Management Policy

• Dignity at Work Policy

• Corporate Social Responsibility Policy

• Disciplinary Procedure

• Grievance Policy and Procedure

14. Monitoring and Review

We will establish appropriate information and monitoring systems to assist the effective implementation of our Equality and Diversity policy.

The effectiveness of our Equality and Diversity policy will be reviewed regularly and action taken as necessary.

This policy will be subject to annual review in line with changing employment legislation and best practice. The next formal review will take place in September 2022.