SECTION 1 EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY STATEMENT
- Homeless Stars Housing aims to promote equality and diversity as an employer and seeks to ensure that equality and diversity principles underpin all areas of the organisation’s work and service provision.
1.2 Homeless Stars Housing recognises that many people and groups suffer discrimination and face serious barriers when trying to fulfil their true potential. It also recognises that not all forms of unreasonable and unfair discrimination are the subject of legislation. It is the aim of this organisation to take positive steps to redress discrimination, to improve equality of opportunity and to combat any unreasonable or unfair treatment which places people at a disadvantage for any reasons not directly related to their ability to do a job for this organisation or to their eligibility to receive services from us.
1.3 Homeless Stars Housing recognises that it is unlawful to discriminate against people on grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment (as determined by the decision of the individual, rather than any medical treatment), marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race/religion/belief, sex and sexual orientation.
This includes discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic or others think they possess a particular protected characteristic.
It also recognises that it is unlawful to indirectly discriminate against another, e.g. where an organisation’s rule or policy disadvantages a particular protected characteristic.
In addition, Homeless Stars Housing recognises that people may experience discrimination for many additional social, educational and economic reasons such as their language, health, HIV status, caring responsibilities, trades union activity, where they live, how they speak and whether they work flexibly. This policy will apply equally to all these circumstances.
1.4 Homeless Stars Housing will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, bullying, victimisation or abuse of people who are members of staff, volunteers or of people connected with the services provided by Homeless Stars Housing. This includes behaviour that another may find offensive even if it is not directed at them, behaviour by others who are not employed by the charity and discrimination against another because they have made or supported a complaint or grievance under relevant legislation.
1.5 Homeless Stars Housing recognises that a person is disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities, which would include things like using a telephone, reading a book or using public transport. It recognises that it is discriminatory to treat a disabled person unfavourably because of something connected with their disability (e.g. a tendency to make spelling mistakes arising from dyslexia) or to indirectly discriminate against someone because of their disability.
SECTION 2 MANAGEMENT ISSUES AND DELIVERY MECHANISMS
2.1 Homeless Stars Housing’s Board of Directors has ultimate responsibility for the equality and diversity policy, including its implementation and monitoring. The Board should ensure that it keeps itself informed of the policy’s implementation and considers the impact of its decisions and policies on equality and diversity issues.
2.2 All employees, volunteers and directors will be informed that an equality and diversity policy is in operation and that they are bound to comply with its requirements. The policy will also be drawn to the attention of Homeless Stars Housing’s funding agencies, job applicants and those using the services of Homeless Stars Housing via the website.
2.3 The “Equality and Diversity Statement” above shall be displayed in our offices, visible to staff and visitors. Staff and Directors are to be given a copy of the whole policy upon appointment/election and whenever the policy is modified. Volunteers will be referred to the policy. Appendix 1 sets out Homeless Stars Housing attitude and approach to harassment and dignity at work.
2.4 Homeless Stars Housing’s grievance and disciplinary procedures will be used to deal with any complaints about discrimination, harassment or bullying involving staff.
Complaints from people using the organisation’s services and volunteers will be through the complaints procedure for Homeless Stars Housing which is set out in the Complaints Policy.
Homeless Stars Housing has a Whistleblowing Policy for use where concern is raised about the behaviour or conduct of staff or volunteers.
2.5 Homeless Stars Housing seeks a broad and representative Board of Directors.
2.6 It is expected that when staff or directors represent Homeless Stars Housing on the committees of other agencies they will endeavour to ensure that equality and diversity principles and practices are adopted by those agencies.
SECTION 3 EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES
3.1 Homeless Stars Housing aims to promote equality and diversity as an employer and to ensure that no job applicant, employee or volunteer receives less favourable treatment or is disadvantaged by conditions or requirements that cannot be shown to be justifiable within the context of the policy. For details of the mechanics of the recruitment process, please see separate Recruitment & Selection Policy.
3.2 Homeless Stars Housing regards discrimination, harassment, abuse, victimisation or bullying of staff, volunteers, service users or of others in the course of work as disciplinary offences that could be regarded as gross misconduct. Condoning such behaviour could also be treated as a disciplinary offence. As well as disciplining the perpetrator(s), we will give appropriate support to people who complain of harassment of themselves or others.
3.3 Selection, recruitment, training, promotion and employment practices generally will be subject to regular review to ensure that they comply with the equality and diversity policy. In particular, selection and recruitment procedures should be reviewed at least every three years in order to try and constantly improve equality and diversity practices. They may be reviewed at an earlier stage if deemed necessary by the Board of Directors.
3.4 The charity recognises the value of employing staff and volunteers from ethnic minority / refugee communities and may positively discriminate in favour of an applicant from such a community if employment candidates have equal scores at the end of the recruitment process.
3.5 Homeless Stars Housing will attempt to accommodate staff requests to work flexibly, whether part-time or some other working arrangement, for whatever reason, so long as agreement is consistent with the needs of the organisation. Al Fattah Housing will also encourage initiatives designed to help staff who wish to return to work after a career break, where these can be accommodated within existing or realistically achievable resources.
3.6 Homeless Stars Housing’s terms and conditions of employment allow for paternity and partner leave in addition to standard maternity leave, in accordance with current legislation. Allowance is also made for compassionate and dependant’s leave to deal with domestic emergencies.
3.7 The charity recognises that organisations are obliged under the Disability Discrimination Act to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate disabled people and to enable them to do their job or fulfil their volunteer role without unnecessary difficulty. It will make adjustments which are reasonable, whether or not obliged to do so by law, and whether or not a disabled applicant, employee or volunteer is covered by the definition of disabled under the DDA.
3.8 Homeless Stars Housing accepts its obligation not to discriminate against applicants, employees and volunteers on the basis of their religion or belief. It will try to accommodate employees’ religious beliefs by:-
- Allowing time and if possible a place for prayers during the working day and at the workplace.
- Considering employees’ and others’ dietary requirements in catering, when providing facilities for staff and volunteers to eat and store food, and at events organised by the charity.
- Allowing staff of particular faiths to take their holidays for religious festivals and other religious observance.
- Trying to arrange job interviews or other important work meetings at times when they do not clash with important religious festivals.
- Not imposing a dress code with which people of a particular religion cannot comply.
3.9 Homeless Stars Housing will not discriminate on grounds of age in recruitment, promotion, training, or the availability of benefits such as pension contributions or health insurance.
3.10 Homeless Stars Housing will operate an annual staff appraisal system. Training or education development to enhance potential within the existing job, arising out of needs identified through appraisal or from other circumstances will, where appropriate or possible, be provided by Al- Fattah Housing. Al- Fattah Housing may, in certain circumstances, allow for paid or unpaid leave for training or educational purposes.
3.11 Homeless Stars Housing will take whatever positive action is required where it can be shown that under-representation of any particular group has occurred in recruitment. Where appropriate and where legally permissible, employees and volunteers from under-represented groups will be given training and encouragement in order to promote equality and diversity within Homeless Stars Housing.
3.12 All training opportunities will be published widely to all appropriate employees and volunteers and not in such a way as to exclude or disproportionately reduce the numbers of applicants from a particular group.
SECTION 4 SERVICE DELIVERY
4.1 Homeless Stars Housing seeks to ensure that its services are accessible to all sections of the community served by Homeless Stars Housing.
4.2 Homeless Stars Housing will attempt to ensure that none of its policies discriminate directly or indirectly against any group or individual.
4.3 Homeless Stars Housing will attempt to find ways of making its services accessible to everyone, including people with visual or hearing impairments, and people who cannot easily travel.
4.4 Homeless Stars Housing will take all reasonable steps to ensure that all its activities are carried out in premises which are accessible to people with mobility difficulties. In the event that the premises operated by Homeless Stars Housing are not accessible for particular individuals, Homeless Stars Housing will arrange alternative meeting places. This will include committee meetings.
4.5 Homeless Stars Housing will be sensitive to the needs of service users by trying to provide for example, translations, food that has regard to religious and other dietary requirements.
4.6 Homeless Stars Housing will operate a variety of means to allow people to contact staff and Directors.
SECTION 5 MONITORING AND EVALUATION
5.1 Homeless Stars Housing will regularly evaluate its services and the effectiveness of its Equality and Diversity Policy, by a variety of means.
5.2 Monitoring may be carried out by Homeless Stars Housing to provide the data for this regular evaluation. For instance, Al-Fattah Housing may ask clients using our services, job applicants, volunteers and directors for information about their ethnic origin, disability, marital status, age or other personal information. We will only do this for a specific defined purpose such as collecting statistical data for funders, for research or for our own monitoring to evaluate this policy’s impact.
5.3 Homeless Stars Housing will comply with the Data Protection Act 2018 and the General Data Protection Regulations as per its Data Protection (GDPR) Policy. This also covers the use of ‘Special Category Data’ which is also covered by the Equality Act 2010.
SECTION 6 REVIEW OF THIS POLICY
6.1 Homeless Stars Housing’s commitment to equality and diversity is an active one. This document will be amended on a regular basis as part of this active commitment.
6.2 Homeless Stars Housing’s Equality and Diversity Policy will be reviewed every three years by the Board of Directors unless legislation changes necessitate an earlier review.
6.3 Homeless Stars Housing will also seek to keep abreast of new developments in Equality and Diversity practice and actively seek information on this issue.
HARASSMENT / DIGNITY AT WORK
Homeless Stars Housing’s objectives will be best served if staff and volunteers work in harmony with each other and with those to whom they report. All staff and volunteers should respect other members of staff and volunteers and realise that behaviour that they may find acceptable may not be so regarded by others.
Line managers and supervisors shall act and react towards employees in a manner which respects their dignity. They shall work to ensure that those under their management and/or direction act in a similar way in their relationships with each other.
Bullying and Harassment
ACAS says: “Bullying and harassment means any unwanted behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended. It is not necessarily always obvious or apparent to others and may happen in the workplace without an employer’s awareness. Bullying or harassment can be between two individuals or it may involve groups of people. It might be obvious or it might be insidious. It may be persistent or an isolated incident. It can also occur in written communications, by phone or through email, not just face-to-face.”
Harassment at work in any form is entirely unacceptable and each member of staff carries responsibility for their own behaviour under the policy.
Harassment can take many forms and may be directed in particular against women and ethnic minorities or towards people because of their age, religion, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability or some other characteristic. This list is neither definitive nor exhaustive.
To further ensure that individual employees are left in no doubt about the meaning of sexual, racial and other unlawful forms of harassment, definitions are provided below. These are not exhaustive definitions:
- Racial harassment is racial abuse, either physical or verbal, or racist statements comments or jokes which are uninvited and unwanted and tend to humiliate intimidate and might threaten job security.
- Sexual harassment includes repeated and unwanted verbal or sexual advances, sexually explicit or derogatory statements, sexually offensive material, or sexually discriminatory remarks. These can be offensive to the employee involved and cause the employee to feel threatened, humiliated or harassed. These may also interfere with the employee’s job performance, undermine job security or create a threatening or intimidating work environment.
- Harassment on the grounds of disability, religion/belief and sexual orientation and age may include: offensive jokes, e-mails and texts with offensive content, derogatory or discriminatory remarks or other content, or verbal remarks that cause offence due to an individual’s disability, religion/belief, sexual orientation or age.
Homeless Stars Housing will provide support for employees who allege harassment.
A proper investigation of complaints will take place using the Homeless Stars Housing’s disciplinary procedure.
Fair procedures will be followed and instigated promptly to minimise potential stress both for the alleged harasser and the complainant.
Homeless Stars Housing has a Whistleblowing Policy which protects whistle blowers who have due reason to believe that a member of staff or volunteer is bullying or harassing another person provided that their reasons for raising this issue is raised in good faith and not malicious.
Wherever possible employees who believe that they have been the subject of bullying or harassment should tell the person responsible that they find their behaviour offensive and ask them to stop. If the individual feels unable to do this themselves they may ask a friend, their union representative, their line manager or another person of their choice to do it for them.
If the alleged bullying or harassment continues, or the complainant feels unable to speak directly to the alleged perpetrator, it may be helpful to write to the person concerned clearly indicating what is considered to be unacceptable behaviour.
If the behaviour continues (or the informal procedure seems inappropriate) the matter should be dealt with as a grievance. It should be reported in writing to the complainant’s manager giving details of the incidents, when they occurred, any possible witnesses and any discussion or correspondence under the informal procedure. This complaint may be made through a friend, a Union representative or another person of choice. After receipt, the matter shall be brought to the attention of the alleged perpetrator’s manager (if this is not also the complainant’s manager) who will carry out an investigation.
As an alternative to the above, which may be inappropriate, (e.g. because the alleged perpetrator is the complainant’s manager), the complainant may raise the matter with the Chair of the Board, who shall act as a confidential advisor. This advice may mean the employee needs to make a formal complaint to the manager of the person alleged to have carried out the bullying or harassment. The alleged perpetrator’s manager will then conduct an investigation. Reference should also be made at this stage to the Whistleblowing Policy.
The investigation shall be carried out under the terms of Homeless Stars Housing disciplinary procedures. In certain circumstances the alleged perpetrator may be suspended without prejudice on full pay before, during or after the investigation.
During the investigation or resultant disciplinary hearing, the complainant and alleged perpetrator will have the right to be accompanied and/or represented by a person of their choice.
If the allegations are upheld disciplinary action including the possibility of dismissal will result.
If the outcome of the investigation and/or disciplinary hearing is that no formal disciplinary action is to be taken, no record of the complaint will appear on the alleged perpetrator’s personal file.
The complainant will be informed that a disciplinary investigation has been held and may be told of the broad findings and outcomes of this investigation, provided this information does not breach the obligation of confidentiality to the alleged perpetrator. The complainant may lodge an appeal under the grievance procedure if they are not satisfied that the matter has been properly dealt with.
Employees will not be victimised in any way for complaining about discrimination or racial, sexual or other forms of bullying or harassment or for giving evidence about such a complaint.
Date Agreed by the Board of Directors: 3rd November 2022
Date to be reviewed: Every Five Years unless recalled due to legislative changes
– November 2027
Employment Rights Act 1996
Sex Discrimination Act 1975
Disability Discrimination Act 1995
Race Relations Act (as amended) 1976
The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003
The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003
The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006
The Equality Act 2010
Terms and Conditions of Employment
Recruitment & Selection policy
Disciplinary rules and procedures
Absence Management policy
Work-Life balance policy
Data Protection (GDPR) Policy