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1. Introduction

This policy sets out Morris Vermaport’s (MV) approach to equality, diversity and inclusion. MV is committed to promoting equality, diversity and inclusion by promoting a culture that actively values difference and recognises that people from different backgrounds and experiences can bring valuable insights to the workplace and enhance the way MV work.

2. Scope

This policy covers every individual working for us, irrespective of their status, level or grade. It there-fore includes senior managers, officers, directors, employees, consultants, contractors, trainees, homeworkers, part-time or fixed-term employees, casual and agency staff (collectively referred to as workers in this policy).
This policy does not form part of any employee’s contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.
Breach of this policy will be dealt with under our disciplinary procedure and, in serious cases, may be treated as gross misconduct leading to summary dismissal.

3. Responsibilities

You have personal responsibility for the application of this policy. As part of your employee induction, you are expected to read and familiarise yourself with this policy, ensure that this policy is properly observed and fully complied with.
This policy is also of particular relevance to directors, line managers and other employees concerned with recruitment, training and promotion procedures and employment decisions which affect others.

4. Policy

Our aims to be an inclusive organisation, committed to providing equal opportunities throughout employment including in the recruitment, training and development of employees, and to pro-actively tackling and eliminating discrimination.
It is considered that equality means breaking down barriers, eliminating discrimination and ensuring equal opportunities and access for all groups both in employment, and to goods and services.
We consider diversity to mean celebrating difference and valuing everyone. Each person is an individual with visible and non-visible differences and by respecting this everyone can feel valued for their contributions which is beneficial not only for the individual but for MV too.
We acknowledge that equality and diversity are not inter-changeable but inter-dependent. There can be no equality of opportunity if difference is not valued and harnessed.
Every employee is entitled to a working environment that promotes dignity, equality and respect for all. MV will not tolerate any acts of unlawful or unfair discrimination (including harassment) committed against an employee, contractor, job applicant or visitor because of a protected characteristic:

• Sex.
• Gender Reassignment.
• Marriage and Civil Partnership.
• Pregnancy and Maternity.
• Race (including ethnic origin, colour, nationality and national origin).
• Disability.
• Sexual orientation.
• Religion and or belief.
• Age.

Discrimination on the basis of work patterns (part-time working, fixed term contract, flexible working) which is unjustifiable will also not be tolerated.
All employees will be encouraged to develop their skills and fulfil their potential and to take advantage of training, development and progression opportunities. Selection for employment, promotion, training, or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability.
No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated. If you believe that you may have suffered discrimination because of any of the above protected characteristics, you should consider the appropriateness and feasibility of attempted informal resolution by discussion in the first instance with your line manager or another colleague in a relevant position of seniority.
Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the appropriate procedure. MV will ensure that individuals who make such allegations in good faith will not be victimised or treated less favourably as a result. However, false allegations of a breach of this policy which are found to have been made in bad faith will be dealt with under MV’s Discipline Policy.
A person found to have breached this policy may be subject to disciplinary action under MV’s Discipline Policy.
Employees may also be personally liable for any acts of discrimination prohibited by this policy that they commit, meaning that they can be sued by the victim.

When does this policy apply?

This policy applies to all conduct in the workplace and also to conduct outside of the workplace that is related to your work (e.g. at meetings, social events and social interactions with colleagues) or which may impact on the company’s reputation (e.g. the expression of views on social media, contrary to the commitments expressed in this policy, that could be linked to MV).
Below are specific areas of application:

• Recruitment – Selection for employment will be on the basis of merit, against an objective criterion that avoids discrimination. Vacancies should generally be advertised to a diverse section of the labour market. Advertisements should avoid stereotyping or using
wording that may discourage particular groups from applying. We are required by law to ensure that all employees are entitled to work in the UK. Assumptions about immigration status should not be made based on appearance or apparent nationality. All prospective employees, regardless of nationality, must be able to prove that they are entitled to work in the UK, before employment starts, to satisfy current immigration legislation.

• Training – Appropriate access to training will be given to enable progression within the organisation.

• Promotion – All promotion decisions will be made on the basis of merit, and will not be influenced by any of the protected characteristics listed above. Promotion opportunities will be monitored to ensure equality of opportunity at all levels. Where appropriate, steps will be taken to identify and remove unnecessary or unjustifiable barriers to promotion.

• During employment – The benefits, terms and conditions of employment and facilities available to employees will be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that access is not restricted by unlawful means and to provide appropriate conditions to meet the special needs of disadvantaged or under-represented groups.
Types of Discrimination

The following forms of discrimination are prohibited under this policy and are unlawful:

• Direct discrimination: Treating someone less favourably because of a Protected Characteristic. For example, rejecting a job applicant because of their religious views or sexuality.

• Indirect discrimination: When there is a practice, policy or rule that applies to everyone in the same way, but which has a worse effect on some people than others (and where there is no objective justification for it). An example would be setting minimum height requirements for job applicants. Someone may not be able to meet the requirement and, if there is no apparent reason for the requirement, this may be unlawful.

• Harassment: This includes sexual harassment and other unwanted conduct related to a Protected Characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for them.

• Victimisation: Retaliation against someone who has complained, or has supported someone else’s complaint, about discrimination or harassment.

• Disability discrimination: This includes direct and indirect discrimination, any unjustified less favourable treatment because of the effects of a disability, and failure to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate disadvantages caused by a disability.

5. Review

This policy will be reviewed annually or if significant changes to the company or processes have taken place as per the BSI ISO 9001 Quality Management System. It is also to be reviewed on change of directors.