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Equality and Diversity Policy

This policy does not affect or form part of the contractual relationship between the Firm and any of its partners or staff.

1.0 The Firm’s Commitment

The Firm declares its commitment to the principles of equality and diversity and to observing legislative requirements (Equality Act 2010) relating to discrimination and promoting equality and diversity.  This applies to the Firm’s professional dealings with partners, staff, clients and third parties.

We will not, in our professional dealings with employees, partners, clients or third parties discriminate, without lawful cause, against any person, nor victimise or harass them on the grounds of any of the following protected characteristics:

  • race / caste;
  • sex;
  • sexual orientation;
  • religion or belief;
  • age;
  • disability;
  • gender reassignment;
  • marriage and civil partnerships;
  • pregnancy and maternity.

We will take such steps, and make such adjustments, as are reasonable in all circumstances in order to prevent any of our employees, partners, clients or third parties being placed at a substantial disadvantage because of one of the above.

2.0 Types of Discrimination

The following are the kinds of discrimination, which are against the Firm’s policy:

  • Direct discrimination, occurs when someone is treated less favourably than another person because of a protected characteristic they have or are thought to have, or because they associate with someone who has a protected characteristic.
  • Discrimination by associate, this is direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic.
  • Perception discrimination, this is direct discrimination against an individual because others think they possess a particular protected characteristic. It applies even if the person does not actually possess that characteristic.
  • Indirect discrimination, occurs when a condition, rule, policy or even a practice that applies to everyone but particularly disadvantages people who share a protected characteristic.  Indirect discrimination can be justified if the Firm can show that it has acted reasonably in managing its business, ie that it is ‘a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
  • Victimisation, occurs when an employee is treated badly because they have made or supported a complaint or raised a grievance under the Equality Act; or because they are suspected of doing so.  An employee is not protected from victimisation if they have maliciously made or supported an untrue complaint.
  • Harassment, is unwanted conduct related to a relevant 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.
  • Harassment may involve physical acts or verbal and non-verbal communications and gestures.

3.0 Employment and Training

As an employer, the Firm will treat all employees and job applicants equally and fairly and not discriminate unjustifiably against them.  This will, for example, include arrangements for recruitment and selection, terms and conditions of employment, access to training opportunities, promotion and transfers, grievance and disciplinary processes, demotions, selection for redundancies, dress code, references, bonus schemes, work allocation and any other employment related activities.

Positive action may be taken if the Firm thinks that employees or job applicants who share a particular protected characteristic suffer a disadvantage connected to that characteristic, or if their participation in an activity is disproportionately low.

4.0 Suppliers and Other Third Parties

The Firm will treat all suppliers, potential suppliers and other third parties fairly, and will not discriminate against them in relation to any of the protected characteristics.

5.0 Clients

The Firm is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular clients, but any refusal to act will not be in relation to any of the protected characteristics.

The Firm will take steps to meet the different needs of particular clients arising from its obligations under the Equality Act 2010.

6.0 Promoting Equality and Diversity

Employees and partners will be informed of this Equality and Diversity Policy.

This policy will be made available to clients, and relevant third parties when required.

In all its dealing, including those with suppliers, contractors and recruitment agencies, the Firm will seek to promote the principles of equality and diversity.

7.0 The diversity of the communities we serve is reflected at all levels within our workforce

(a) Gender

Women and men are fully and properly represented and rewarded for their contribution at all levels of the Firm through:

  • challenging gender stereotypes
  • supporting employees in balancing their life at work and at home
  • supporting employees who become pregnant and taking active steps to facilitate their return to work after maternity leave.

(b) Trans-gender status

People who plan to undergo, are undergoing, or have undergone gender re-assignment are protected against all forms of discrimination and harassment. The employer will take positive steps to support a trans-gender person and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect.

(c) Marital status

People are treated fairly and equally in the workplace irrespective of their marital, civil partnership or family status.

(d) Race / Caste

The racial and cultural diversity of our communities is represented at all levels of the Firm through:

  • challenging racial/caste stereotypes
  • understanding, respecting and valuing different racial and cultural backgrounds and perspectives.

(e) Disability

The abilities of disabled people are recognised and valued at all levels of the organisation through:

  • focusing on what people can do rather than on what they cannot
  • challenging stereotypes about people with disabilities
  • making appropriate adjustments in the workplace to help people with disabilities achieve their full career potential.

(f) Age

Age diversity within the workforce is promoted and valued through:

  • challenging age stereotyping
  • recognising the benefits of a mixed-age workforce.

(g) Religious belief and political opinion

People are treated fairly in the workplace irrespective of their religious beliefs and practices or political opinions by recognising individuals’ freedom of belief and right to protection from intolerance and persecution.

(h) HIV

Discrimination against an employee or potential employee on grounds that he or she has, or is thought to have, HIV or AIDS is not acceptable, and confidentiality will be respected in line with the wishes of an individual with HIV or AIDS.

(i) Sexuality

People are treated fairly in the workplace irrespective of their sexuality through:

  • respecting different lifestyles;
  • challenging negative stereotypical views.

8.0 Implementing the Policy

8.1 Responsibility

Ultimately responsibility for this policy rests with the partners of the Firm. The Firm has appointed HR to have operational responsibility for implementing, communicating, monitoring, evaluating and updating this policy.

All employees and partners of the Firm are expected to pay due regard to the provisions of this policy and are responsible for ensuring compliance with it when undertaking their jobs or representing the Firm.

Acts of discrimination or harassment, or any other failures to comply with this policy by employees or partners of the Firm, may result in disciplinary action.

Acts of discrimination or harassment by those acting on behalf of the Firm will lead to appropriate action including termination of service where appropriate.

If you believe that you have been discriminated against or that you have been subjected to harassment on any of the above grounds, then you have the right to put your complaint in writing to the HR & Office Manager, who will deal with it in accordance with the Firm’s current Grievance Procedure.

8.2 Monitoring and review

The operation of this policy will be monitored and reviewed by the Partners in a manner proportionate to the size and nature of the Firm on an ongoing basis to measure its progress and judge its effectiveness.

This information will be used to review the progress and impact of the Equality and Diversity Policy.  Any changes required will be made and implemented.