ACS OFFICE SOLUTIONS

ACS House, Oxwich Close
Brackmills
Northampton
NN4 7BH

Telephone: 01604 704000
Facsimile: 01604 704001
Website: www.acsofficesolutions.com

Equal Opportunities Policy

General

The Company is opposed to all forms of unlawful and unfair discrimination. All full-time and part-time employees, job applicants (actual or potential) will be treated fairly and selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability.

The Company recognises that the provision of equal opportunities within the work place is both good management practice and makes good business sense. An equal opportunities policy will help all employees to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise efficiency of the organisation

Scope of the Policy

acs Office Solutions’ equal opportunities policy applies across the whole company and includes recruitment, selection, training, career development and promotion. No employee or applicant will be treated less favourably on the grounds of colour, race, religion, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender (including gender reassignment), sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, or be disadvantaged by conditions or requirements that cannot be shown to be relevant to the job in hand.

Specifically the Company is committed to:

1 Preventing any form of direct or indirect discrimination or victimisation.
2 Promoting equal opportunities for men and women.
3 Promoting equal opportunities for people with disabilities.
4 Promoting equal opportunities for ethnic minorities.
5 Promoting a good harmonious working environment where all employees are treated with respect and dignity and in which no form of intimidation or harassment will be tolerated.
6 Fulfilling all legal obligations under relevant legislation and associated codes of practice.
7 Taking all necessary permitted positive action including setting of goals and timetables.

Breaches of the Equal Opportunities Policy will be regarded as misconduct and could lead to dismissal in certain cases.

Implementation

The Operations Support Manager and HR have specific responsibility for the effective implementation of this policy.

This policy is fully supported by the Board and Senior Managers of the Company.

Each manager and supervisor is responsible for implementing the policy within their department.

All employees are expected to abide by the policy.

Policy in Practice

1. Direct Discrimination

The Company does not permit direct discrimination under any circumstances.

This occurs where an employee treats another employee less favourably than others on the grounds of colour, race, religion, nationality, ethnic or national origin, gender (including gender reassignment), sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status or disability

For example; a requirement for standard grade English as a selection criteria if the applicant is from an ethnic minority group and it cannot be demonstrated that the job requires a reasonable level of literacy; a requirement for staff to hold a valid driving license for a job that requires little travelling; an application of Asian or other ethnic origin not being appointed because he/she may not fit in with the existing all white team; a female with young children not being selected if it is feared she may be an unreliable staff member.

2. Indirect Discrimination

The Company does not permit indirect discrimination under any circumstances.

This occurs where terms and conditions are applied to all but have a discriminatory effect on a particular group.

For example; full time work could have an adverse effect on women with small children as women are generally accepted as taking the primary childcare role. It may not be justified based on the needs of our business not to consider two part-timers rather than one full time person.

3. Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment means unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct could include unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal conduct, be it direct or indirect. The essential characteristic of this is that it is unwanted by the recipient and a single incident may constitute sexual harassment, if sufficiently serious. It is essential to remember in these cases that what is acceptable to one employee may not be acceptable to another.

4. Racial Harassment

Racial harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

Racial harassment constitutes behaviour that is offensive or hostile and causes discomfort, distress, exclusion or withdrawal. It could include racial insults or ridicule, the use of racist language or display of racist posters or literature.

5. Disability

Discrimination on the basis of disability will not be tolerated.

Disability discrimination occurs when an individual is unjustifiably disadvantaged in employment/recruitment for a reason in connection with his/her disability.

For example: failure to recruit a wheelchair-bound employee without first considering whether the working arrangements or premises could be reasonably adapted to his/her needs; failure to consider adapting working practices to accommodate difficulties experienced by an employee with a progressive disability.

6. Recruitment and Selection

Any methods used to attract and then select candidates for employment within the organisation will be free from bias or prejudice. Job adverts will not be biased in any way and will encourage applications from suitably qualified and experienced people.

Recruitment of the right candidate for any position will be made against fair and relevant criteria, which has been agreed beforehand.

Terms and Conditions of Employment

All staff will be treated equitably in terms of the pay and other conditions of employment. Terms and conditions of employment will be reviewed regularly to ensure they do not contain requirements which will directly or indirectly discriminate against any employee group.

Career Development and Training

All employees will be encouraged to develop their full capability in relation to the goals of the organisation. Promotion and/or training opportunities will be available to all employees within the business.

Grievance Procedure

Any employee who believes they have suffered any form of discrimination, harassment
or victimisation is entitled to raise the matter through the grievance procedure. This procedure is outlined in the Employee Handbook (Q1P090). All complaints of discrimination will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially.

Every effort will be made to ensure that the employee making the complaint will not be victimised. Any complaint of victimisation will be dealt with seriously, promptly and confidentially. Victimisation, if proved to have taken place, will result in disciplinary action and summary dismissal.

Victimisation occurs where an individual is treated less favourably than colleagues because he or she has taken action to assert their statutory rights or assisted a colleague with information in that regard. It must be noted that in the event that the employee is not satisfied with the outcome of the complaint procedure he/she could raise a complaint at an industrial tribunal. In certain circumstances if the Company is deemed not to have acted sufficiently to prevent discrimination the Company could also be deemed to be liable.

Jon Thorpe John Harley
Joint Managing Director Joint Managing Director

January 2004

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