Equal opportunities policy
Equal opportunities policies are now commonplace in most businesses. The policy will state how the organisation will ensure that it is open and accessible to all. They typically cover discrimination on grounds of sex, race, disability, religion, age, marital status, gender, sexual orientation or sexuality. The policy will typically be included in the contact of employment.
An equal opportunities policy is important because:
- Certain individuals, groups and communities face discrimination, harassment and victimisation.
- The majority of clients or funders now require an equal opportunities policy.
- Writing an equal opportunities policy will help an organisation think clearly about how they can ensure all individuals are treated equally and with respect.
- A documented policy will show that an organisation is aware of the potential for discrimination, harassment and victimisation and that there are measures in place to stop it happening.
- Demonstrating compliance with the Equality Act 2010.
The exact content of an equal opportunities policy will vary depending on the type of organisation but it could include the following:
- Statements outlining a commitment to equality.
- Identification of the types of discrimination that the organisation is required to combat across the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
- Statements outlining the type of work environment the organisation would like to create, including what is acceptable behaviour at work (also referring to conduct outside the workplace and at work-related social functions where relevant).
- Information about how the policy will be implemented, including how any policy breaches will be dealt with, and how concerns and complaints will be handled.
- Who is responsible for the policy.
- The monitoring protocol.
- Details covering how the policy is linked to other policies.
An equal opportunities policy will require periodic monitoring to ensure that it is effective and if it isn’t, to address the reasons why.
Monitoring might involve gathering information on the diversity of potential recruits or existing employees at certain times and comparing and analysing the data against:
- Other groups of employees in the company.
- Jobseekers in the local community.
- The wider national labour market.
This might include information about; gender, race, disability, age and so on. In addition, gender identity, religion and sexual orientation can also be monitored. A sample monitoring form can be downloaded from the ACAS guide.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Access and inclusion in the built environment: policy and guidance.
- Access audit.
- Access consultant.
- Approved document M.
- Changing lifestyles.
- Equality Act.
- Inclusive design.
- Older people.
- People with disabilities.
- Pre-qualification questionnaire.
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