Equal Opportunities Policy



1.0       Policy Statement


1.1       Appletons believes that equality of opportunity and of diversity is vital to its success and is an essential prerequisite as an employer to achieving the best possible service to both employees and clients.  The aim of this policy is to ensure that no job applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of gender, race, disability, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, material status, sexuality, responsibility for dependants, religion, trade union activity and age (up to 65).  Selection criteria and procedures will be kept under review to ensure that individuals are selected, promoted, and treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities. All employees will be given equality of opportunity within the company’s service and will be encouraged to progress within the organisation. To ensure that direct or indirect discrimination is not occurring, recruitment and other employment decisions will be regularly monitored in conjunction with ethnic records of job applicants and existing employees. The company is committed to a programme of action to make this policy fully effective.


2.0       Objectives


            To this end Appletons will :-


2.1       Recognise its legal responsibilities under the following Acts and Regulations,


Acts of Parliament

·            The Race Relations Act 1976 as amended by the Race Relations (Amendment) Act (RRAA) 2000


·            The Sex Discrimination Act 1975 (amended 1986)


·            The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 & 2005


·            The Employment Rights Act 1996


·            The Asylum and Immigration Act 1996


·            The Human Rights Act 1998


·            The Equality Act 2006


·            The Equal Pay Act 1970


·            The Fair Employment (Northern Ireland) Acts



·            The European Council’s Equal Treatment Directive


·            Sex Discrimination (Gender Reassignment Regulations 1999


·            Race Relations Act 1976 (Amendment) Regulations 2003


·            The Fixed Term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000


·            The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003


·            The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003


·            The Employment Equality (Sex Discrimination ) Regulations 2005


·            The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006


·            Disability Discrimination Act (Amendment) Regulations 2003


in its capacity as an employer, in dealing with contractors and individuals or acting on behalf of clients.


2.2       Communicate its commitment to equality and diversity to all members of its staff and community.


2.3       Communicate where responsibility lies for equality issues.


2.4       Take positive action to redress any gender, racial or other imbalances in the workforce.


2.5       Operate and review its selection procedures to ensure that all staff are appointed and promoted solely on the basis of their abilities in relation to the requirements of the job in question.


2.6       Give all employees equal opportunity and encouragement to develop skills through training or on the job experience to enable them to progress within the organisation.


2.7       Provide procedures for the impartial review of any circumstances where an employer believes they have been subject to inequitable treatment.


3.0       Definition of Discrimination


3.1       Appletons recognises that equality and diversity is about valuing individuals, notwithstanding that certain groups in society still experience discrimination and disadvantage. Appletons will not tolerate less favourable treatment or discrimination of people based on the following grounds;


·        age

·        social or employment status

·            disability, including learning disabilities, mental, physical or sensory ill health

·        gender

·        health/HIV status

·        marital/domestic status

·        membership/non membership of a trade union

·        political affiliation

·        race, colour, ethnic origin, place of birth or nationality

·        religion or beliefs

·        sexual orientation/gender reassignment

·            status as an ex-offender


3.2       Appletons also recognises the worth of the individual whilst within the workplace or in the process of carrying out his or her duties as contracted within the terms of their employment. Appletons will not tolerate any incidents that characterises bullying as defined by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS). These would be offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means intended to undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.



3.3       Appletons will not tolerate any incidents of harassment which, in general terms, is unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of men and women in the workplace. It may be related to age, sex, race, disability, religion, nationality or any personal characteristic of the individual, and may be persistent or an isolated incident. The key is that the actions or comments are viewed as demeaning and unacceptable to the recipient.


4.0       The Legal Framework


4.1       Unlawful discrimination can take the following forms:


            4.1.1    Direct Discrimination – this occurs where a person is treated less favourable than others because of their colour, race, ethnicity, ethnic origin, nationality, national origin, gender, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation.


4.1.2    Indirect Discrimination – this occurs by applying a provision, criterion or practice which disadvantages people on the grounds outlined above and cannot be justified as a proportionate way of achieving a legitimate aim.


            4.1.3    Victimisation – this occurs where an individual has exercised their right under equality legislation (or has indicated that they intend to do so) and is treated less favourable as a direct result. It applies equally to a person who is supporting (or has indicated that they intend to support) another person who is exercising their rights under the legislation.


4.2       In order to promote equality and diversity, Appletons will also consider flexible working arrangements, Continuing Professional Development (CPD), additional training, attendance on course to further professional development and promotion and setting out policy on equality in material promoting the services of the company wherever appropriate to do so.


5.0       Recruitment


5.1       Jobs will be open to all who meet genuine and strictly necessary occupational qualifications.


5.2       Jobs will be advertised and offered in ways which avoid direct or indirect discrimination.


5.3       Managers will be trained on non-discriminatory recruitment procedures.


5.4       Recruitment vacancies will be advertised to ensure that all groups are aware of them.


5.5       Selection criteria, including the need for formal qualifications, are strictly job related and necessary.


5.6       Previous experience is given due recognition.


5.7       Selection tests are unbiased, strictly relevant and scored objectively.


5.8       Mobility requirements if stated are strictly necessary to undertake the task in question.


6.0       Training


6.1       All staff will be given equal access to relevant training opportunities.


6.2       Training materials and programmes will be non discriminatory and free from bias.


6.3       Aspects of work requiring equal opportunities training will be developed.




7.0       Career Development



7.1       Promotion will be open to all, solely on the basis of merit.


7.2       A system of regular performance appraisal, including identification of training needs and opportunities for feedback, will be implemented.


7.3       Salaries are regularly reviewed and increases awarded on an equitable and consistent basis.


7.4       Opportunities for job share and part time working are available to staff.


7.5           Special religious, dietary, and cultural needs will be catered for.


7.6           Support for Licentiates of The Landscape Institute will be given support to process through the Pathway to Chartership by agreement.


7.7       All Landscape Institute members are required under the Code of Conduct to maintain their professional competence. A minimum of 25 hours of development per year is required, and a wide range of activities can count towards a balanced programme of Continued Professional Developemnt (CPD).

7.8       While the Landscape Institute does not prescribe the areas to be covered by CPD, there is an expectation that members will maintain their knowledge in areas relevant to their work as well as current regulations and legislation and broader contexts. Appletons will, by agreement, offer attendance at seminars, workshops and master classes to support this requirement.

8.0       Responsibilities for Implementation


8.1       The primary responsibility for ensuring that there is no unlawful discrimination rests with the Directors of the company. They will have the primary responsibility for implementation, promotion, and monitoring of these policies.  They will report individual matters of concern and action taken or proposed at a convened directors’ meeting and at least annually on progress.


8.2       Individual employees at all levels will also have personal responsibilities. Discriminatory practices/actions will not be tolerated and employees may face disciplinary action should they be involved in such behaviour.


9.0       Grievance Procedure


9.1       If there is a grievance relating to inequality of opportunity or diversity it should be set out in writing and forwarded to David Appleton or Lorna Cruice at Appletons, 17 Chorley Old Road, Bolton, Lancashire, BL1 3AD within 3 months after the date when the problem occurred.


9.2       Any grievances will be looked into in a fair and unbiased way within 28 days of the receipt of the letter.


9.3       A meeting will be called to discuss the matter, at a time and date which is convenient to all parties and which allows sufficient time you the aggrieved person to prepare.


9.4       The aggrieved person has the right to a ‘companion’ (work colleague, friend or relative) to accompany them to the meeting, to speak on their behalf or to sum up the proceedings.


9.5       The aggrieved person will be given notes of the meeting which shall be agreed by all parties.


9.6       The aggrieved person will be told verbally and in writing of the resolution and outcome of the grievance and what action will be taken.


9.7       If the aggrieved person is not satisfied with the outcome then they have the right to take the issue to an Employment Tribunal.


9.8       If all parties are agreeable any dispute or grievance may be discussed and/or resolution taken through mediation, conciliation or arbitration.



10.0     Monitoring and Review of Policy


10.1     The Policy will be reviewed periodically, within a minimum of 12 months, to ensure its procedural requirements are met and that Appletons meet there legal requirements under current English and European legislation.

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