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Equal Opportunities Policy

Purpose

Cranberry Panda (The Company) is committed to being an Equal Opportunities employer and this policy sets out the minimum standards that the company will adopt in relation to Equal Opportunities. This policy is intended to ensure that only legitimate business-related issues are considered in decisions about employees.

This policy does not form part of your contract of employment. The company may amend or update any of the terms of this policy at its discretion from time to time.

Eligibility

This policy applies to all individuals working at the organisation at all times. This policy applies equally to the treatment of the company's staff by its visitors, clients and suppliers, and to the treatment by its staff of the company's visitors, clients, suppliers and former staff members. 

Policy

The Company is committed to being an Equal Opportunities employer. It is our policy to treat job applicants, employees, former employees, visitors, clients and suppliers consistently and fairly ensuring that the work environment is free from unlawful discrimination, harassment and bullying and that everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

This policy applies to all aspects of our relationship with staff and to relations between staff members at all levels. This includes job advertisements, recruitment and selection, training and development, opportunities for promotion, conditions of service, pay and benefits, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and termination of employment.

It is unlawful to discriminate directly or indirectly in recruitment or employment because of age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation or because someone is married or in a civil partnership. These are known as "protected characteristics”.

The company will strive to ensure that the working environment is free from unlawful discrimination, bullying and harassment on any grounds.

All staff have a duty to act in accordance with this policy and treat colleagues with dignity at all times, and not to discriminate against or harass other members of staff, regardless of their status. Your attention is drawn to our separate Anti-bullying and Harassment policy (please see separate policy below). 

All company policies and procedures will be considered to incorporate these standards and it is the responsibility of every employee to comply with this Equal Opportunities policy.

Any member of staff who considers that they have been treated in a manner contrary to this policy should raise the matter as soon as possible to their line manager in accordance with the company's Anti-bullying and Harassment Procedure.  The matter will be treated seriously, fairly and without undue delay.

Any employee who acts, or instructs others to act, in a manner contrary to this policy will be liable to disciplinary action which could, in serious cases, lead to dismissal without notice on the grounds of gross misconduct.

Recruitment

We aim to ensure that no job applicant suffers discrimination because of any of the protected characteristics.

We aim to ensure that role outlines accurately reflect the duties and responsibilities of the job and that person specifications only include relevant selection criteria which are job related. 

Recruitment advertising

Wherever possible, vacancies will be advertised internally and externally. The company will also strive to ensure that recruitment literature and advertisements welcome and attract interest from a diverse community.

We aim to ensure that advertising does not contain wording that could place unfair restrictions or requirements on any particular group and avoids stereotyping or using wording that may discourage groups with a particular protected characteristic from applying.

Selection procedure

Suitability for employment is measured against the stated requirements of the job. Age, disability, gender reassignment, pregnancy, maternity, race (which includes colour, nationality and ethnic or national origins), religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, marriage or civil partnership will not be used to assess how well an applicant will integrate with the workforce or form the basis for any selection procedure.

The company endeavours to inform applicants invited to interview or to take a test that they may request any reasonable adjustments to enable them to participate fully in the selection process. 

The selection process must accurately assess an applicant’s knowledge, skills and ability to perform the duties of the job. Selection decisions are based on objective, non-discriminatory and work related criteria.

The company regularly monitors, reviews and revises each stage of the recruitment process in line with this policy.

Career development

The company ensures that all employees have equal access to training and development opportunities.  Decisions about promotion and career progression are made on a fair and non-discriminatory basis and are based solely on your ability to carry out the job. 

Reasonable adjustments

The company will make reasonable adjustments to its standard working practices to overcome barriers caused by an employee's disability (within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010).

If you are disabled or become disabled, we encourage you to let us know so that we can support you in the workplace.

Dismissal

The company will not unlawfully or unfairly discriminate in dismissal or selection for redundancy.

After employment has ended

The company will not unlawfully or unfairly discriminate against ex-employees.

Grievance Policy

Any employee who has a concern or complaint regarding discrimination should raise the matter as soon as possible to their line manager using the Grievance Policy or Anti-bullying and Harassment Policy. The matter will be thoroughly investigated and treated seriously, fairly and without undue delay.

Allegations regarding potential breaches of this policy will be treated in confidence and investigated in accordance with the relevant procedure. Any member of staff who makes a complaint or who pursues a case of discrimination in good faith will not, thereafter, be treated less favourably than other employees. False allegations which are found to have been made in bad faith will, however, be dealt with under our Disciplinary Procedure.

Disciplinary process

The company has a duty to ensure that no employee behaves in an unacceptable or discriminatory manner. Therefore all incidents of discrimination will be treated seriously.   Any employee who is guilty of discrimination, bullying, harassment or victimisation or inducing others to such behaviour will be subject to the company’s Disciplinary Procedure

 

Anti-bullying & Harassment Policy

Purpose

Cranberry Panda is committed to creating a workplace that respects the dignity of all individuals, creating a working environment that is free from all forms of bullying and harassment. 

This policy sets out to:

  • Help you understand what bullying and harassment is and that such behaviour is not tolerated
  • Guide you on what to do if incidents of bullying and harassment happen
  • Help you understand how you can contribute to a collaborative and productive workplace free from bullying and harassment.

This policy does not form part of your contract of employment and Cranberry Panda may amend it at any time.

Eligibility

Who does this policy cover?

This policy applies to the treatment of all staff of Cranberry Panda as well as its visitors, clients and suppliers. For the purposes of this policy, staff includes employees, officers, consultants, contractors, casual workers and agency workers. It applies equally to the treatment of Cranberry Panda’s visitors, clients, and suppliers by its staff.

What does this policy cover?

Cranberry Panda prohibits all forms of harassment on the grounds of the protected characteristics listed below, and all forms of bullying.

The protected characteristics are:

  • Age;
  • Disability;
  • Gender reassignment;
  • Marriage and civil partnership;
  • Pregnancy and maternity;
  • Race;
  • Religion or belief;
  • Sex; and
  • Sexual orientation.

Are there any definitions I need to know about?

Harassment is defined as unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic listed above that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment. This includes harassment on the grounds of any perceived protected characteristic of the victim, and harassment which targets the protected characteristic/s of a person with whom the victim associates.

Bullying is any unsolicited or unwelcome act that humiliates, intimidates or undermines the recipient or witnesses.

Bullying is not about the legitimate exercise of managerial responsibility. Line managers have a duty to manage performance, attendance and conduct issues, and to instruct staff to carry out tasks associated with their role. They must provide staff with accurate feedback on their performance, which may be critical and take steps to improve performance when required. There are times when managers will be required to have difficult conversations with staff about their performance or conduct but it is important not to misconstrue this as bullying behaviour.

Bullying and harassment take many forms including physical, verbal and nonverbal behaviour. It does not matter whether you intended any words or behaviour to amount to bullying or harassment – what counts is how the words or behaviour are perceived by the recipient. The following list is not exhaustive but includes examples of the more common forms of bullying and harassment at work:

  • Physical contact, ranging from touching to serious assault
  • Verbal or written harassment through jokes, banter, offensive language etc.
  • Visual displays of offensive material e.g. posters, graffiti, flags, emblems or obscene gestures
  • Isolation or non-co-operation at work
  • Coercion, ranging from pressure for sexual favours to pressure to participate in political or religious groups
  • Intrusion by pestering, spying and stalking
  • Verbal or physical threats and intimidation
  • Persistent negative comments or unjustified criticism
  • Harassment via email or social media

Policy

Cranberry Panda prohibits all forms of bullying and harassment and accordingly, bullying and harassment in the workplace in any form will not be tolerated.

Cranberry Panda therefore considers bullying and harassment as a serious disciplinary offence which will be dealt with in accordance with the Disciplinary Policy. This would also include behaviour amounting to bullying and harassment at a work-related event outside of the workplace. Bullying and harassment in any form or a false allegation of bullying and harassment can constitute gross misconduct and can lead to summary dismissal in accordance with the Disciplinary Policy.

All employees have a joint responsibility for implementing this policy.

What are the additional responsibilities of line managers?

As a line manager or supervisor you have a duty to:

  • Ensure this policy is implemented and communicated to your team.
  • Monitor the behaviour of people in your team to ensure they comply with this policy.
  • Act quickly if someone behaves in a way that might cause offence.
  • Be sympathetic to the complainant and thoroughly investigate any case of bullying and harassment. 
  • Act to ensure any complaint is resolved as quickly and fairly as possible.
  • What should I do to create a positive working environment?
  • Treat colleagues fairly at all times. 
  • Be aware of the issue of bullying and harassment and the damage it can do to individuals and Cranberry Panda.
  • Think about the support you give your colleagues.
  • Think about how your behaviour and language may be discriminating or cause offense to others and make changes if need be.
  • Understand this policy and your responsibility not to behave in a way that could be offensive to others. 

Process

What principles guide the complaints process?

Cranberry Panda will endeavour to ensure that:

All complaints are taken seriously and investigated as soon as possible.

The investigation is thorough, impartial and objective, and is carried out with sensitivity and due respect for the rights of the complainant, the alleged harasser and witnesses.

All conversations, written evidence and general dealings about bullying and harassment are strictly confidential. Breaches of confidence can lead to disciplinary action.

The complainant and alleged harasser are kept informed of the progress of any investigation.

Any employee accused of harassment will be given every reasonable opportunity to defend or explain their actions.

Who can make a complaint about bullying and harassment?

If you suffer or witness bullying or harassment (whether by a colleague or by a third party such as a client or supplier), you have the right to complain about it and have the complaint dealt with in accordance with the Grievance Policy.

What should I do if I think I am being bullied or harassed?

Read this policy and follow the process set out in the Grievance Policy. 

Raise your complaint promptly with your line manager so Cranberry Panda can take appropriate action.

As a precaution keep written records of any incidents including the date, time, details of what was said or done, the names of those involved and any witnesses.

What support is offered during this process?

Every effort is made to protect you if you make a complaint or help in an investigation. Victimisation against a complainant, alleged harasser or witnesses is a serious disciplinary matter.

What happens if a case is proved?

If, after investigation, there is a case of misconduct to be answered, the Disciplinary Policy will be invoked which may result in dismissal.

Where a lesser penalty is appropriate this may be coupled with action to ensure the complainant is able to continue working without embarrassment or anxiety.  This could include a transfer to another work area for either party if a suitable position is available.

In any event, Cranberry Panda will work to make sure that you are not victimised, directly or indirectly, for bringing a complaint in good faith. The situation will be monitored to make sure that the harassment has stopped.

What happens if a case is not proved?

If a complaint is made in good faith but is not upheld, because for example, the evidence is inconclusive, we will work with you to try to resolve the situation where appropriate. Internal mediation may be considered if support is required to rebuild working relationships.

Consideration may be given to transferring one of the employees concerned if it is the case that either party would prefer not to be working alongside the other.

Can I appeal if I am not happy with the decision?

If you are not satisfied with the decision you have the right to appeal.

What happens if I make a false claim?

Any false allegation made deliberately, mischievously or recklessly is treated as a serious disciplinary matter and will be dealt with in accordance with the Disciplinary Policy 

Where can I find out more information?

Contact your manager or a Director if you have any comments or questions about this policy.

Please note that if you are raising concerns about the actions of a fellow worker or manager, you may be asked to put this into writing.  You should understand that Cranberry Panda may not be able to take any action if you are unwilling to do so.  However, in serious situations, even where you say that you do not wish to proceed the company has a duty of care to all employees and may wish to investigate matters.

 

Last updated: 6th September 2016

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