Equal Opportunities & Diversity Policy

1 Our Policy

Choice Teachers embraces diversity and aims to promote the benefits of diversity in all of our business activities. We seek to develop a business culture that reflects that belief. We will expand the media in which we recruit to in order to ensure that we have a diverse employee and candidate base.

Choice Teachers is committed to diversity and will promote diversity for all employees, workers and applicants. We will continuously review all aspects of recruitment to avoid unlawful discrimination. Choice Teachers will treat everyone equally and will not discriminate on the grounds of an individual’s protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) which are age, disability, gender re-assignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We will not discriminate on the grounds of an individual’s membership or non-membership of a Trade Union. All staff have an obligation to respect and comply with this policy. Choice Teachers will employ and make decision on individuals on their merits alone.

2 Discrimination

Under the Equality Act 2010 unlawful discrimination occurs in the following circumstances:

Direct discrimination
Direct discrimination occurs when an individual is treated less favourably because of a protected characteristic. Treating someone less favourably means treating them badly in comparison to other’s that do not have that protected characteristic.

It is unlawful for a recruitment consultancy to discriminate against a person on the grounds of a protected characteristic:

  • In the terms on which the recruitment consultancy offers to provide any of its services
    • By refusing or deliberately omitting to provide any of its services
    • In the way it provides any of its services

Direct discrimination can take place even if the individual does not have the protected characteristic but is treated less favourably because it is assumed he or she has the protected characteristic or is associated with someone that has the protected characteristic.

Direct discrimination would also occur if a recruitment consultancy accepted and acted upon instructions from an employer which states that certain persons are unacceptable due to a protected characteristic, unless an exception applies. The Act contains provisions that permit specifying a requirement that an individual must have a particular protected characteristic in order to undertake a job. These provisions are referred to as occupational requirements.

Where there is an occupational requirement, the client must show that applying the requirement is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, i.e. the employer must be able to objectively justify applying the requirement. An occupational requirement does not allow an employer to employ someone on less favourable terms or to subject a person to any other detriment. Neither does an occupational requirement provide an excuse against harassment or victimisation of someone who does not have the occupational requirement.

Indirect discrimination would also occur if a Choice Teachers employee accepted and acted upon an indirectly discriminatory instruction from an employer.

If the vacancy requires characteristics which amount to an occupational requirement or the instruction is discriminatory but there is an objective justification, Choice Teachers will not proceed with the vacancy unless the client provides written confirmation of the occupational requirement, exception or justification.

Choice Teachers will use the best endeavours to comply with the Act and will not accept instructions from clients that will result in unlawful discrimination.

3 Harassment

Under the Equality Act 2010, harassment is defined as unwanted conduct that relates to a protected characteristic which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual. This includes unwanted conduct of a sexual nature.

Choice Teachers is committed to providing a work environment free from unlawful harassment.

Choice Teachers will ensure that its employee’s do not harass any individual.

Examples of prohibited harassment are:

  • Verbal or written conduct containing derogatory jokes or comments
    • Slurs or unwanted sexual advances
    • Visual conduct such as derogatory or sexually orientated posters
    • Photographs, cartoons, drawings or gestures which some may find offensive
    • Physical conduct such as assault, unwanted touching, or any interference because of sex, race or any other protected characteristic basis
    • Threats and demands to submit to sexual requests as a condition of continued employment or to avoid some other loss and offers of employment benefits in return for sexual favours
    • Retaliation for having reported or threatened to report harassment.

If an individual believes that they have been unlawfully harassed, they should make an immediate report to Rachael Roberts (Compliance Administrator, Choice Teachers) followed by a written complaint as soon possible after the incident. The details of the complaint should include:

  • Details of the incident
    • Name(s) of the individual(s) involved
    • Name(s) of any witness(es)

Choice Teachers will undertake a thorough investigation of the allegations. If it is concluded that harassment has occurred, appropriate action will be taken.

All employees and workers will be expected to comply with Choice Teachers policy on harassment in the workplace. Any breach of such a policy will lead to the appropriate disciplinary action.

Any individual who Choice Teachers finds to be responsible for harassment will be subject to the disciplinary procedure and the sanction may include termination.

4 Victimisation

Under the Equality Act 2010 victimisation occurs when an individual is treated unfavourably because he/she has done a ‘protected act’ which is bringing a claim for unlawful discrimination or raising a grievance about discrimination or giving evidence in respect of a complaint about discrimination..

Choice Teachers will ensure that it’s employee’s do not victimise any individual.

5 Disabled Persons

Discrimination occurs when a person is treated unfavourable as a result of their disability.

In direct discrimination occurs where a provision, criterion or practice is applied by or on behalf of an employer, or any physical feature of the employer’s premises, places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage in comparison with persons who are not disabled.

In recruitment and selection there may be a requirement to make reasonable adjustments. For example, it might be necessary to have different application procedures for partially sighted or blind applicants that enable them to use Braille. With testing and assessment methods and procedures, tests can only be justified if they are directly related to the skills and competencies required for the job. Even then, it might be appropriate to have different levels of acceptable test results, depending on the disability. For example, an applicant with a learning disability might need more time to complete a test.

Reasonable adjustments in recruiting could include.

  • Modifying testing and assessment procedures
    • Meeting the candidate at alternative premises which are more easily accessible
    • Having flexibility in the timing of interviews
    • Modifying application procedures and application forms
    • Providing a reader or interpreter

Wherever possible Choice Teachers will make reasonable adjustments to hallways, passages and doors in order to provide and improve means of access for disabled employees and workers. However, this may not always be feasible, due to circumstances creating such difficulties as to render such adjustments as being beyond what is reasonable in all the circumstances.

Choice Teachers will not discriminate against a disabled person

  • In the arrangements i.e. application form, interview or arrangements for selection for determining whom a job should be offered
    • In the terms on which employment or engagement of temporary workers is offered
    • By refusing to offer or deliberately not offering the disabled person a job for reasons connected with the disability
    • In the opportunities afforded to the person for receiving any benefit, or by refusing to afford, or deliberately not affording him or her any such opportunity
    • By subjecting the individual to any other detriment (detriment will include refusal of training by transfer, demotion, reduction of wage or harassment)

Choice Teachers will make career opportunities available to all people with disabilities and every practical effort will be made to provide for the needs of staff, candidates and clients.

6 Age Discrimination

Under the Act, it is unlawful to directly or to harass or victimise a person because of age. Age discrimination does not just provide protection for people who are older or younger. People of all ages are protected.

Choice Teachers will not discriminate directly or indirectly, harass or victimise any person on the grounds of their age. We will encourage clients not to include any age criteria in job specifications and every attempt will be made to encourage clients to recruit on the basis of competence and skills and not age.

Choice Teachers is committed to recruiting and retaining employees whose skills, experience, and attitude are suitable for the requirements of the various positions regardless of age. No age requirements will be stated in any job advertisements on behalf of the company.

Where a client requests age or date of birth, this will have to be under an occupational requirement or with an objective justification which should be confirmed in writing.

7 Part –Time Workers

This policy also covers the treatment of those employees who work on a part-time basis, Choice Teachers recognises that it is an essential part of this policy that part time employees are treated on the same terms, with no detriment, as full time employees in matters such as rates of pay, holiday entitlement, maternity leave, parental and domestic incident leave. Choice Teachers also recognises that part time employees must be treated the same as full time employees in relation to training and redundancy situations.

8 Recruitment of Ex-Offenders

Where Choice Teachers has registered with the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and has the authority to apply for criminal records checks on individual because they are working with children or vulnerable adults or both, we will comply with the DBS’s Code of Practice which includes having a policy on the recruitment of ex-offenders.

9 Complaints and Monitoring Procedures

Choice Teachers has in place procedures for monitoring compliance with this policy and for dealing with complaints of discrimination. These are available from Rachael Roberts (Compliance Administrator, Choice Teachers) and will be made available immediately upon request. Any discrimination complaint will be investigated fully.

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