Equal Opportunities

Last Updated: 14 July 2015

1. Heads Above The Waves recognises that discrimination and victimisation is unacceptable and that it is in the interests of the Company and its employees and volunteers to utilise the skills of the total workforce. It is the aim of the organisation to ensure that no employee , volunteer, or applicant receives less favourable facilities or treatment (either directly or indirectly) in recruitment or employment on grounds of:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender/gender reassignment/ gender non-conforming/ gender fluidity
  • Marital or civil partnership status
  • Pregnancy/ maternity
  • Race (including colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins)
  • Religion, beliefs, or political opinion
  • Mental health issues
  • Sex, or sexual orientation
  • Having or not having dependants

These will be referred to as Protected Characteristics.

2. Our aim is that our workforce will be truly representative of all sections of society and each employee feels respected and able to work to the best of their abilities.

3. We oppose all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination or victimisation. To that end the purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment.

4. All employees, whether part-time, full-time, temporary or voluntary will be treated fairly and with respect. Selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability. All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.

5. This policy and the associated arrangements shall operate in accordance with statutory requirements. In addition, full account will be taken of any guidance or Codes of Practice issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and Government Departments, and any other statutory bodies.

Rights of Disabled People and People Dealing with Mental Health Issues

Heads Above The Waves attaches particular importance to the needs of two specific groups: disabled people and people dealing with mental health issues.

Under the terms of this policy, managers are required to:

  • Make reasonable adjustment to maintain the services of an employee who is disabled, or becomes disabled. For example: provision of training, provision of special equipment, and reduced working hours. (NB: Managers are expected to seek advice and guidance from external agencies to maintain disabled people in employment);
  • Make reasonable adjustments to support and protect an employee dealing with mental health issues for example, offering the services of the organisation’s counsellor, supporting the requests of the individual, and structuring their work schedule around what’s best for them, within reason;
  • Include disabled people and people dealing with mental health issues in training/ development programmes;
  • Give full and proper consideration to disabled people and people dealing with or who have a past of mental health issues by making reasonable adjustments for their particular aptitudes and abilities to allow them to be able to do their job.

Our Commitment

Heads Above The Waves is opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination. We believe in human rights for all those connected with this organisation and all members of society. No action shall be taken against them by any person connected with Heads Above The Waves which would devalue their contribution to society and to this organisation, or lead to a loss of their own self- respect, or respect for them from others.

To create an environment in which individual differences and the contribution of all our staff are recognised and valued.
Every employee is entitled to a working environment that promotes dignity and respect to all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment whether physical, mental or verbal will be tolerated.
Training, development and progression opportunities are available to all staff.
To promote equality in the workplace which we believe is good management practice and makes sound business sense.
We will review all our employment practices and procedures to ensure fairness at least every year.
Breaches of our equality policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to disciplinary proceedings.
Responsibility for making sure that Heads Above The Waves fulfils its obligations under this Policy rests with Hannah Morgan, Head of Human Resources.

Who does the Policy apply to?

All individuals within this organisation are responsible for compliance with this Policy, and for the positive attitude it requires. All external persons connected with Heads Above The Waves are encouraged to hold the same responsibility and commitment.

Responsibilities of Management

Responsibility for ensuring the effective implementation and operation of the arrangements will rest with the Directors. They will ensure that they and their staff operate within this policy and arrangements, and that all reasonable and practical steps are taken to avoid discrimination. Each Director will ensure that:

  • All their staff are aware of the policy and the arrangements, and the reasons for the policy;
  • Grievances concerning discrimination are dealt with properly, fairly and as quickly as possible’
  • Proper records are maintained.

Responsibilities of Staff

Responsibility for ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination rests with all staff and the attitudes of staff are crucial to the successful operation of fair employment practices. In particular, all members of staff should:

  • Comply with the policy and arrangements;
  • Not discriminate in their day to day activities or induce others to do so;
  • Not victimise, harass or intimidate other staff or groups who have, or are perceived to have one or more of the aforementioned protected characteristics.
  • Ensure no individual is discriminated against or harassed because of their association with another individual who has one or more of the protected characteristics.
  • Inform their manager if they become aware of any discriminatory practice.

Third Parties

Third-party harassment occurs where a Heads Above The Waves employee is harassed, and the harassment is related to a protected characteristic, by third parties such as service users, clients or customers. Heads Above The Waves will not tolerate such actions against its staff, and the employee concerned should inform their manager/ one of the Directors at once that this has occurred. Heads Above The Waves will fully investigate and take all reasonable steps to ensure such harassment does not happen again.

What will we do?

We will make sure that all our staff and sub-contractors are aware of our Equal Opportunities Policy, and where applicable will make them aware of their responsibilities.
All job applicants, employees and others who work for and/or with us will be treated fairly and will not be discriminated against on any of the grounds named above. Decisions about recruitment and selection, promotion, training or any other benefit will be made objectively and without unlawful discrimination.

We will maintain information on staff who have been involved in certain key policies: Disciplinary, Grievance and Bullying & Harassment.

Related Policies and Arrangements

All employment policies and arrangements have a bearing on equality of opportunity. Heads Above The Waves policies will be reviewed regularly and any discriminatory elements removed.

How will we know if the Policy is working?

The working of the Equal Opportunities Policy will be monitored by the Hannah Morgan, Head of Human Resources on an annual basis, or sooner if necessary, by collecting and analysing information on employees, about the Protected Characteristics.

If monitoring shows that Heads Above The Waves, or areas within it, are not representative, or that sections of our workforce are not progressing properly within the Organisation, then an action plan will be developed to address these issues. This will include a review of recruitment and selection procedures, policies and practices as well as consideration of taking legal Positive Action.

Dealing with complaints

It is recognised that many individuals may be unwilling to make a complaint regarding equal opportunities, for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Fear that others will consider that behaviour trivial
  • Fear of retaliation and/or public humiliation
  • Fear that the complaint will not be taken seriously

Such concerns may make an individual choose to leave the organisation, or change their job. Heads Above The Waves regards this as unacceptable. It is important that everyone working with us should feel able to raise concerns without fear and in the knowledge that their complaint will be taken seriously.
All complaints will receive prompt attention and will be properly investigated. We will seek to resolve them as quickly as possible. Discrimination and victimisation will be treated as disciplinary offences and they will be dealt with by the directors.

Sometimes it may be possible for an employee affected by the behaviour of another simply to ask the harasser to stop, or make it clear that the behaviour is unwelcome. If this is appropriate then the employee should do this. However, such an approach may not be appropriate and employees should feel able to raise matters at any time with their line manager or with Hannah Morgan, Head of Human Resource.