Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy

Policy Ref: HR011

Policy Owner: Director of HR

Approving Body: VCEG

Executive Lead: Chief Operating Officer

Date Approved: May 2021

Policy Statement

1.1 The RAU values the dignity of each individual and recognises that the promotion of a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion is vital to success. The University is committed to the elimination of unlawful discrimination and the advancement of good relations between different groups, and seeks to celebrate diversity and provide an inclusive working environment.

1.2 The RAU will strive to ensure that equality is embedded in all of its activities, policies and decisions and will work with partners to share good practice.

2. Scope

2.1 This Policy applies to all current and potential staff, external examiners, consultants and contractors.

2.2 It acknowledges discrimination on the basis of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion and belief, sex or sexual orientation as set out in the Equality Act.

3. Aims of the Policy

3.1 The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy outlines the University’s commitment to to eliminate unlawful discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and advance good relations between different equality groups.

3.2 The University will seek to:

3.2.1 Create an inclusive community which promotes diversity and equality of opportunity for all, without fear of prejudice or harassment, no matter what their identity or background, and enable individuals from all backgrounds to work together with dignity and respect.

3.2.2 Provide a welcoming, secure and supportive environment where individuals are free to achieve their full potential. The RAU will seek to ensure that all staff have equal access to the full range of institutional facilities and that adjustments are made to working practices as appropriate, in order to accommodate a diverse community.

3.2.3 Implement strategies, policies and processes aimed at promoting equality of opportunity and eliminating discrimination and ensure all forms of discrimination are addressed promptly and constructively to build an inclusive community.

3.3 The RAU seeks to eliminate discrimination and advance good relations between different groups and acknowledges that discrimination does not have to be intentional to be unlawful, recognising the protected characteristics below:

3.3.1 Age: the University will not treat anyone differently because of their age, and appreciates that discrimination may be a one-off action or as a result of a process based on age. However, there are certain circumstances when when it is acceptable to treat someone differently because of age and those situations that are covered by the Equality Act.

3.3.2 Disability: the RAU recognises that a person has a disability 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. This includes progressive conditions like HIV, cancer or multiple sclerosis, or if an individual has had a disability in the past, including mental health conditions.

3.3.3 Gender Reassignment is the process of transitioning from one gender to another to change from birth sex to the preferred gender. The RAU recognises that an individual can be at any stage in the transition process, from proposing to reassign their gender, to undergoing a process to reassign, or having completed it.

3.3.4 Marriage and Civil Partnership is a union between a man and a woman or between a same-sex couple and discrimination may occur when an individual is treated differently at work because they are married or in a civil partnership.

3.3.5 Pregnancy and Maternity: Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period after the birth, and is linked to maternity leave at work.

3.3.6 Race refers to a group of people defined by their race, colour, and nationality (including citizenship) ethnic or national origins.

3.3.7 Religion and Belief is when an individual is treated differently because of their religion or belief, or lack of religion or belief It encompasses any religion, like Christianity, Judaism, Islam or Buddhism, or a smaller religion like Rastafarianism or Paganism, as long as it has a clear structure and belief system.

3.3.8 Sex can mean either male or female and an individual cannot be discriminated against because: they are (or are not) a particular sex; someone thinks they are the opposite sex (discrimination by perception); they are connected to someone of a particular sex (discrimination by association).

3.3.9 Sexual Orientation: an individual must not be discriminated against because: they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian or bisexual; someone thinks an individual has a particular sexual orientation (discrimination by perception); or an individual is connected to someone who has a particular sexual orientation (discrimination by association). Sexual orientation includes how an individual chooses to express their sexual orientation, such as through their appearance.

3.4 The University’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy will support its aims.

4. Responsibilities

4.1 All staff have a responsibility to ensure that their actions comply with the requirements of this Policy and to eliminate unlawful discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and advance good relations between different equality groups.

4.2 All managers are responsible for ensuring this Policy is implemented and maintained within their area of responsibility, confirming all staff are fully informed about their responsibilities and receive support and training in carrying them out. Managers are responsible for taking appropriate action if they are aware of any acts of discrimination within their areas of responsibility, and support available from Human Resources.

4.3 The Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group is responsible for providing consistent leadership on equality and diversity issues, ensuring the Policy is effectively implemented and that appropriate action is taken against anyone within the University who does not act in accordance with the equality duties.

4.4. The Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee has responsibility for the approval of Equality, Diversity and Inclusion strategies, policies and procedures and for overseeing their implementation. The Committee reports to the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Group which has the authority to make decisions or to recommendations for approval.

4.5 All visitors and contractors at the University are required to support and uphold this Policy. The selection processes for contractors and suppliers may include the extent to which they comply with equal opportunities legislation, and contracts should include provisions requiring compliance.

5. Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy

5.1 The RAU’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy has been developed to promote the University’s commitment to an inclusive community and promote equality and diversity. The Strategy guides actions, reflects the University’s priorities and supports progress and sets out how the University will put this Policy into practice.

6. Complaints Procedure and Related Policies

6.1 Any cases of discrimination, harassment or victimisation will be taken seriously by the University and dealt with in a timely and sensitive manner in accordance with the University’s Dignity at Work Policy, Grievance Policy or Disciplinary Policy as appropriate.

7. Policy Review

7.1 It is expected that the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy will normally be reviewed on at least a three yearly cycle.

Relevant Legislation and Guidance

  • Employment Rights Act 1996
  • Equality Act 2010
  • Data Protection Act 2018
  • General Data Protection Regulation