Diversity and Inclusion Policy
Last Updated 16 Jan 2023 in Wellbeing
Equality is one of our co-operative DOES Values and as such we take being inclusive very seriously. This policy outlines how we treat our stakeholders and what is expected of our colleagues.
Key points covered:
- Our commitment to diversity
- Our approach to bullying and harassment
About this Policy
Equality is at the heart of the Society strategy and the core values we live by. We treat everyone fairly and equally while recognising and respecting difference and diversity. As an equal opportunities employer, we strive to build an inclusive working environment for all and create a culture where everyone can reach their fullest potential.
This policy sets out our commitment to equal opportunities and the avoidance of discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marital or civil partner status, pregnancy or maternity, race, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation (Protected Characteristics).
This policy applies to all aspects of employment with us, including recruitment, terms and conditions, communications, training, appraisals, career development, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and termination of employment. It is support by additional policies including but not limited to the Recruitment Policy, Respect in the Workplace and Code of Business Conduct.
The Society is committed to treating all colleagues with dignity and respect. This policy helps ensure the Society has a working environment that is inclusive for individuals with any protected characteristics, whether those individuals are colleagues, members, customers, visitors, suppliers, contractors, or in the communities we serve.
This policy does not form part of any colleague's contract of employment and we may amend it at any time.
Colleagues should visit our dedicated Diversity and Inclusion page on Colleagues Connect for more information and the latest updates on our commitment to building a diverse, inclusive and supporting working environment.
The Society defines diversity and inclusion as follows:
a) Diversity is understanding, accepting, respecting and valuing differences between people.
b) Inclusion is empowering colleagues and offering opportunities for all to reach their potential.
Who is Responsible for this Policy?
All colleagues are responsible for:
Reading and understanding this policy and the Society supporting policies. Act in accordance with the policies and the Society’s wider commitment to diversity and inclusion at all times.
Working in partnership with managers to create an inclusive working environment in which differences are respected and valued.
Ensuring that they treat others with respect. That language, behaviour and actions are aligned to this policy and the Society’s DOES values. At all times being mindful how their actions may be perceived and being alert to the sensitivities of other individuals.
Reporting behaviours of others that are in breach of this policy or are contrary to the Society’s DOES values.
All managers are responsible for:
Setting appropriate standards of behaviour, lead by example and ensure that those they manage adhere to this policy and the Society’s DOES values.
Working alongside colleagues to create and sustain an inclusive environment where differences are respected and valued.
Ensuring that decisions affecting employment, training, promotion and career development are fair, objective and free from discrimination.
Investigating and addressing inappropriate behaviour where it is seen and/or reported to them by others.
The Society’s diversity working group are responsible for:
Ensuring continuous improvement of our policies and practices.
Ensuring any possible barriers to equal opportunities for all our colleagues are challenged.
Monitoring the agreed key areas of the Society’s performance (including colleague recruitment, retention and progression) in relation to diversity indicators, drawing relevant issues to the attention of the Executive Team.
More details on the Society’s diversity working groups can be found here.
The Society will:
Treat colleagues with respect and dignity in a fair and consistent way in an environment where behaviour is inclusive and inappropriate behaviour is not accepted.
Aim to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people to be who they are, irrespective of their gender identity. The Society will also seek to provide a supportive environment for colleagues who are considering, undergoing or who have undergone transition, as provided for under the Equality Act 2010.
Provide fair and open access to learning and development opportunities that are appropriate to colleague development.
Treat colleagues fairly and without bias in recruitment, secondment, promotion and progression. Such exercises will be conducted on the basis of merit, against objective criteria that avoid discrimination. For more guidance on fair recruitment and secondment process please visit the Recruitment Policy and Secondment Policy.
Conduct a fair and relevant review of performance, allowing colleagues to assess knowledge, skills and behaviours in relation to what is expected of a Society colleague.
Make reasonable adjustments for colleagues or applicants who are disabled or become disabled. We encourage colleagues to tell us about their condition so that we can consider what reasonable adjustments or support may be appropriate. For more support on reasonable adjustments in the workplace please refer to the Wellbeing guidance document.
Support our members, colleagues and customers and manage our commitment to diversity and inclusion through the following forums:
Policy review groups
Diversity working groups
Society board meetings
Commit to supporting vulnerable people to develop their skills to enable them to be work ready. Further information can be found in the Modern Slavery & Human Trafficking Policy.
Colleagues must not unlawfully discriminate against or harass other people including current and former colleagues, job applicants, clients, customers, suppliers and visitors. This applies in the workplace, outside the workplace (when dealing with customers, suppliers or other work-related contacts or when wearing a work uniform), on social networks (see Use of Social Networks Policy), and on work-related trips or events including social events. This includes, but is not limited to, discrimination because of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex and sexual orientation.
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 because they might be gay.
Indirect discrimination: a provision, criterion or practice that applies to everyone but adversely affects people with a particular Protected Characteristic more than others, and is not justified.
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. Harassment is dealt with further in our Respect in the Workplace Policy.
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.
Whilst the Society believes many matters can be dealt with informally at an early stage. Any allegations of such behaviour will be investigated, and ultimately disciplined where appropriate, in accordance with the Disciplinary Policy and Respect in the Workplace Policy.
If a colleague believes they have suffered discrimination they can raise the matter with their line manager, through our Grievance Procedure, with their HR Advisor or Speaking in Confidence. Complaints will be treated in confidence and investigated as appropriate.
Recruitment and Selection
Recruitment, promotion and other selection exercises such as redundancy selection will be conducted on the basis of merit, against objective criteria that avoid discrimination. Shortlisting should be done by more than one person if possible.
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.
Job applicants should not be asked questions which might suggest an intention to discriminate on grounds of a Protected Characteristic. For example, applicants should not be asked whether they are pregnant or planning to have children.
Job applicants should not be asked about health or disability before a job offer is made, except in the very limited circumstances allowed by law: for example, to check that the applicant could perform an intrinsic part of the job (taking account of any reasonable adjustments), or to see if any adjustments might be needed at interview because of a disability. Where necessary, job offers can be made conditional on a satisfactory medical check. Health or disability questions may be included in equal opportunities monitoring forms, which must not be used for selection or decision-making purposes.
The central recruitment team must complete unconscious bias training. In addition, an unconscious bias eLearning module is available for all line managers to complete.
All line managers must complete a mandatory ‘Let's talk about Race’ session aimed to educate and enable managers to feel comfortable in having conversations about race, and we continue to raise awareness of the subject through our colleague communications.
We expect all colleagues to support our diversity and inclusion initiatives by attending events and engaging in resources to educate themselves and help alleviate challenges in the workplace.
Breaches of this Policy
We take a strict approach to breaches of this policy, which will be dealt with in accordance with our Disciplinary Procedure. Serious cases of deliberate discrimination may amount to gross misconduct resulting in dismissal.
Colleagues must not be victimised or retaliated against for complaining about discrimination. However, making a false allegation deliberately and in bad faith will be treated as misconduct and dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.
If colleagues have any questions regarding this policy or require additional support, colleagues should speak to their line manager. Alternatively, Colleagues can contact their HR advisor for the business group, or email HR.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Employee Assistance Programme
The Society have funded a FREE confidential helpline service for colleagues to talk to professionals on work or home related issues. All calls are treated in the strictest confidence and the Society does not have access to any information that is discussed with the service provider.
CALL 08088 021 122 - A legal advice help line or live webchat, managed by a team of qualified lawyers who can advise you and give you information on any legal issue, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is also dedicated support resources available on www.groceryaid.org.uk.
Diversity & Inclusion Policy
Date of last review: