Employment Equality Policy
1.0 Our Equality & Diversity Mission
The Staff and management of National Traveller Money Advice and Budgeting Service promote equality and diversity in everything we do.
To achieve this Equality and Diversity Mission in our workplace we:
- Oppose Racism
- Challenge discrimination in all its forms, internally and externally
- Support a personal commitment to anti-racism in all staff and management
- Encourage and support diversity at all levels of the organisation
- Recognise that it is the responsibility of all staff and management to promote anti-racism and interculturalism
- Engage with relevant organisations to promote equality and diversity
- Work in solidarity with ethnic and other marginalised groups
2.0 Our Commitment to Diversity
Our success as an organisation is realised by recognising the value of each individual staff member. We acknowledge diversity as a core value in our organisations functioning. We recognise diversity to include (not exclusively) all of the unique attributes, experiences and personalities that each of our staff and target group bring to our organisation including ethnicity, race, age, sexual orientation, gender, physical abilities, religion, membership of the Traveller community, work experience, geographic location, family status, marital status, educational background and appearance.
3.0 Our World View
We recognise that valuing the diversity with which we as an organisation interact involves looking at every aspect of our interactions including:
- Relationships with staff
- Relationships with target group
- Relationships with other agencies
- Relationships with broader communities
- Our respect for and adherence to national equality and diversity legislation
4.0 Our Focus
Is on creating and maintaining a work environment where all employees can realise their full potential as human beings.
This policy has been developed to help ensure our staff and target group remain at the core of our work and to ensure the highest standards are maintained in respect of both groups.
5.0 Managers/Coordinator Responsibilities
Recognising that managers and coordinators are charged with responsibility for the day to day running of our organisation and that as they carry a special responsibility to other staff they should set a leading example for others to follow by demonstrating that harassment, discrimination or bullying will not be accepted by them and by emphasising to others that a similar stance is expected of them. We expect all managers and staff to promote a proactive and positive approach to diversity and equality issues in our organisation. Management and coordinators should deal promptly and effectively with any complaints or concerns raised by staff.
5.1 Employee Responsibilities
National Traveller MABS emphasises that employees at all levels of our organisation have a responsibility to ensure they act and behave in a manner which is not offensive to other work colleagues. It is important employees develop a consciousness of the impact their actions, behaviour and attitudes can have on those around them. It is vital staff are aware that what one person regards as funny, witty or tolerable others may regard as insulting, hurtful, degrading and intolerable. Staff should be conscious that what may be acceptable in one context may not be acceptable in another context, i.e. what is acceptable in one cultural setting may not be acceptable in another cultural setting.
6.0 Workplace Dignity
It is the policy of National Traveller MABS that no member of staff should be affected by discrimination or treated unfairly in the course of their work.
6.1 Direct Discrimination
This is defined, in the Employment Equality and the Equal Status Acts as being less favourable treatment. A person is discriminated against if he/she is treated less favourably than another person is, has been or would be treated in a comparable situation on any of the nine grounds which exists, existed, but no longer exists, may exist in the future or is imputed to the person concerned. A person may also be discriminated against because of their association with a person from any of the nine grounds.
The nine grounds of discrimination as outlined in the Employment Equality Act, 1998 and the Equal Status Act, 2000 (2004) are:
- Marital Status
- Family Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Membership of the Traveller Community
6.2 Indirect Discrimination
This is discrimination in effect or by impact. There are different standards and definitions for indirect discrimination in the Employment Equality Act, 1998.
It occurs where people are refused employment not explicitly on account of a discriminatory reason but because of a practice or requirement which impacts negatively on a particular group. If the practice or requirement is found to have the effect of excluding substantially more of the particular group then the employer will have indirectly discriminated, unless the practice or requirement can be objectively justified in the case of a claim on the gender ground, or reasonably justified in the case of claims on the non gender grounds.
The 2004 Equality Act amended 22 of the EEA 1998 (indirect discrimination on the gender ground) to read:
Indirect discrimination occurs where an apparently neutral provision puts persons of a particular gender at a particular disadvantage in respect of any matter other than remuneration compared with any other employees of the employer.
6.3 The Nine Grounds Explained
- The Gender ground includes men and women, and transgendered
- The Marital Status ground, includes single, married, separated, divorced or widowed
- The Family Status ground includes responsibility as a parent or in loco parentis in relation to a person who is under eighteen years of age or as a parent or primary resident carer of a person over the age of eighteen with a disability who needs care or support on a continuing, regular or frequent basis.
- The Sexual Orientation ground includes heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual orientation.
- The Religious Belief ground includes religious background or none.
- The Age ground includes persons over the age of sixteen and under the age of 65 years.
- The Disability ground includes
- The total or partial absence of a persons bodily or mental functions, including a part of the body
- The presence of organisms causing or likely to cause chronic illness or disease.
- The malfunction, malformation or disfigurement of a part of a persons body
- A condition or malfunction which results in a person learning differently from a person without a condition or malfunction
- A condition, or illness or disease which affects a persons thought processes, perception of reality, emotions or judgement, or which results in disturbed behaviour
- A disability which exists at present or which previously existed or which may exist in the future or which is imputed (attributed) to a person.
- The Race ground includes race, colour, nationality or ethnic or national origins.
- The Traveller community ground, which is defined as ‘people who are commonly called Travellers and who are identified (both by themselves and others) as people with a shared history, culture and traditions, including, historically a nomadic way of life on the island of Ireland.
6.4 Employment Equality Act, 1998. Harassment (Amended by Equality Act 2004)
Harassment is defined in the Employment Equality Act, 1998 as any form of unwanted conduct related to any of the nine grounds and being conduct, which has the purpose of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.
Such conduct may consist of
- Spoken words
- Gestures or
- The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material
As an employee in National Traveller MABS it is your responsibility to help maintain an enjoyable and respectful workplace. Any staff member who is being harassed in the workplace may feel stressed, anxious and may have difficulties contributing effectively. Harassment including sexual harassment by employees and non employees such as external agencies etc will not be tolerated and could lead to disciplinary action (in the case of employees) and other sanctions including suspension of contracts or services or exclusions from the premises (in the case of non employees).
Some examples of harrassment could include:
- Racist jokes or banter or display of offensive material.
- Insulting behaviour, threats or physical assault.
- Deliberate isolation or non co-operation at work
- Demeaning behaviour towards a colleague on the basis of age, disability, sexual orientation etc.
- Offensive or insulting communications, e-mails, text messages etc
Employment Equality Act, 1998. Sexual Harassment (Amended by Equality Act 2004)
Is any form of unwanted verbal, non verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature conduct, which has the purpose of violating a person’s dignity and creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for the person.
Such conduct may consist of:
- Spoken words
- Gestures or
- The production, display or circulation of written words, pictures or other material.
Some examples of sexual harrassment could include:
- Display of sexually suggestive or pornographic photographs, cut-outs, paper cuttings etc.
- Leering, offensive gestures etc.
- Unwelcome sexual advances or suggestions.
- Unwelcome pressure for dates, social contacts etc.
- Sexual banter, jokes, jibes, remarks, slagging or innuendo.
- Uninvited or unwelcome physical touching or contacts such as petting, kissing, touching, groping etc.
- Sexual assault or rape.
Bullying is defined as:
"Repeated inappropriate behaviour, direct or indirect, whereto verbal, physical or otherwise, conducted by one or more persons against another or others, at the place of work and/or in the course of employment, which could reasonably be regarded as undermining the individuals right to dignity at work. An isolated incident of bullying described in this definition may be an affront to dignity at work but as a once off incident, is not considered to be bullying."
(Dignity at work-The Challenge of Workplace Bullying, March 2001)
It is the policy of National Traveller MABS to ensure that the working environment provides all employees the freedom to conduct their work without having to suffer bullying or harassment.
Bullying is characterised by behaviour which:
- Physically or mentally abuses a person
It can take place by:
It can include:
- Active aggression
- Activities behind a persons back.
What bullying is:
- An abuse of power
- The breaking down of a person.
- Not just physical abuse, but also mental abuse.
Types of bullying
- Physical – Pushing, shoving etc.
- Verbal – name calling, teasing etc
- Emotional – making threats, spreading rumours, excluding etc
- Non verbal – suggestive, provocative or intimidating gestures.
- E-bullying – sending upsetting messages, images or pictures.
- Personal Property - damage to property or threats to damage.
Some Examples of Bullying Behaviour Could Include:
- Manipulation of a person’s reputation by rumour, gossip and ridicule.
- Preventing an individual from speaking by making voiced criticisms or obscene remarks.
- Ignoring, excluding or isolating an individual.
- Manipulating the workload or nature of work required to be done by an individual so as to affect their ability to complete the work. i.e. setting unrealistic deadlines, overloading, withholding information or setting meaningless tasks.
- Over monitoring or unnecessary excessive supervising of an employee.
- Unreasonable refusal to grant annual leave, training or promotion opportunities.
- Physical abuse or threats of abuses, shouting and swearing at an individual both publicly and in private, insulting someone’s appearance or name calling.
- Unwanted physical contact.
- Text messages, e-mails or other internet abuse.
- Suggestive jokes, advances, remarks or banter.
- Whistling and offensive gestures
- Suggestive pictures, calendars, notes etc.
- Aggressive behaviour
- Unreasonable scrutiny or monitoring
- Excessive or unfair criticism about minor matters
- Sneering, personal insults, obscenities, name calling etc
- Undermining of authority
- Unfair delegation or selection
- Changing work targets without informing.
6.6 Workplace Banter
In any workplace people will always have fun. Please remember that what is interpreted as fun, teasing or ‘just a joke’ by one person can be regarded by another as not funny at all and in fact can be interpreted as insulting, humiliating or insensitive. When the line is crossed it can be very difficult for some people to deal with this issue. The common attitude of “it is only a joke” or “that is the way we have always done things” may be of little value if somebody is being adversely affected by this type of banter. It is the policy of National Traveller MABS that no staff member, client or any other visitor should be hurt, upset or humiliated because of jokes or banter.
Remember the earlier rule of thumb, if a joke or remark has the potential to adversely affect any person in your presence, it should be avoided.
We recognise that the best method of creating a working environment, which values people, is a proactive approach. Problems can be prevented by the adoption of a management style and culture, which fosters openness, trust, support and the dignity of the individual. We in National Traveller MABS encourage our management and all other employee’s to ensure that through their actions and decision making they promote a working environment which values other work colleagues and students as a core value.
- As a member of National Traveller MABS you have a responsibility for promoting a harmonious work environment, this should be reflected in your work style and behaviour.
- Remember, even if you personally do not find certain language or conduct offensive, others might and often do. It is easier to deal with these types of issues as they occur rather than waiting for somebody else to make a complaint.
- It can happen that sometimes people do not realise that their behaviour is offensive, this should be addressed immediately Therefore management and coordinators need to be observant of relationships, remarks, performance, attitudes and behaviour amongst others. They need to advise and guide staff where language and behaviour are unacceptable.
- Managers and coordinators should be alert for inappropriate graffiti, posters, pin-ups, calendars, screen savers, publications, e-mails or other communications, which might cause offence to either other staff or students. Where managers become aware of any such material they should instruct that it be removed immediately.
- Managers should ensure that contractors, suppliers and any other agency with which we interact should be made aware of our diversity and equality policies.
- Managers and coordinators should be aware of the legal implications and the procedures for dealing with complaints both internally and externally. Be conscious that you may be required to justify decisions made to a third party or agency at a later date, therefore a record of any actions taken or decisions made is important.
- When a complaint is made immediate and appropriate action should be taken. Staff are asked not to ignore complaints made.
8.0 Disciplinary Process
See relevant section in your Contract of Employment for details on National Traveller MABS Disciplinary Procedure.
It is our policy to assist and support all members of staff in their work with us. If you feel that you have been a victim of discrimination, harassment or bullying, do not ignore any negative treatment and hope that it will go away. Remember your reluctance or failure to deal with any such issue may be interpreted to mean that the treatment is ok.
You should take the following steps:
- If you feel comfortable, confront the individual who is responsible.
- If you are uncomfortable and the situation is unresolved, inform your management.
- It is the responsibility of management to resolve the situation following the disciplinary procedures laid down in your contract.
10.0 General Policy Statements
10.1 Accommodating Diversity
- National Traveller MABS define diversity to include all of the unique differences that each of our employees and clients bring to our organisation. It is our intention that this document outlines our organisations commitment to diversity.
- National Traveller MABS are committed to the development of practices and procedures on foot of this policy document and we will actively monitor and report on the impact of the implementation of the various aspects of the policy.
- National Traveller MABS are committed to undertake on our own initiative, an equality review in our organisation and to prepare an equality action plan on foot of this policy and to maintain a monitoring system.
- National Traveller MABS is committed to the development of diversity and equality issues in partnership with our staff and any other partners with whom we interact.
- National Traveller MABS are determined to maintain our commitment to the promotion and progression of staff within the service regardless of their gender, marital status, religious belief, race, age, sexual orientation, disability or membership of the Traveller community. The service is committed to monitoring the promotion process to assess equality of opportunities in this area.
- National Traveller MABS are committed to the principles of diversity and equality within our service; we ensure that management and all staff are conscious of their specific roles and responsibilities in terms of diversity and equality in our workplace.
10.2 Equality Officer
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to the appointment of an Equality Officer whose responsibilities will include the monitoring of equality and the promotion of diversity in our organisation. This person will be a senior member of our staff.
- We will facilitate this office in terms of the time and resources needed to do the job effectively. We will communicate information to all employees on the appointment of this officer.
10.3 Diversity Committee
- We in National Traveller MABS are committed to the establishment and development of a staff diversity committee.
- The Diversity Committee will reflect and be representative of the diversity reflected in our workplace.
- The Diversity committee will have responsibility for communicating our employment equality policy to all staff and external agencies.
- National Traveller MABS encourages staff members to approach managers/coordinators should they have issues which they want to discuss in private.
- Our Equality Officer will conduct communication sessions from time to time to facilitate feedback from staff on issues of concern to them and also to help us improve our service to staff.
- National Traveller MABS is committed to inviting suggestions and feedback from employees on their specific needs. We will endeavour insofar as is practicable to respond to suggestions made.
- The Employment Equality Policy will be communicated to all staff and to all freelance workers, suppliers, contractors and other agencies working in our organisation
10.5 Recruitment & Selection Processes
- National Traveller MABS is committed to ensuring that our recruitment application forms will conform to the provisions of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 (2004) and to best practice in equal opportunities. We will monitor the outcome of legal precedents and other equality related decisions to ensure best organisational learning.
- National Traveller MABS is committed to providing information on our employment equality and diversity policies to any employment and recruitment agencies with which we interact.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that the principal and practice of equal pay will be respected and kept under review and will be a feature of any collective agreement.
- National Traveller MABS will position and direct our recruitment and selection processes to ensure that our advertising reaches candidates from all of the nine grounds in Irish Equality legislation.
- National Traveller MABS is committed to avoiding displaying intentionally or unintentionally, advertising or wording that suggests implicitly or explicitly that jobs are not open to candidates from within all of the nine grounds of Equality Legislation.
- National Traveller MABS is committed to ensuring that we advertise enrolment for training, work experience and employment counselling opportunities so that they are known and understood as open, available and accessible to all employees, full and part time, including all nine grounds named in the Employment Equality Act 1998 (2004).
- Recognising that the interview and selection processes are defining and impacting moments in terms of the organisations openness to candidates from a wide variety of diverse backgrounds and in particular candidates from across the nine grounds as laid out in equality legislation, National Traveller MABS are committed to conducting recruitment interviews on the basis of ability, so that all candidates of equal merit have an equitable opportunity to compete.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to providing our interviewers with detailed guidance in relation to non-discrimination and equal opportunity issues in relation to recruitment.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that our interviewers focus on the candidates skills, talents, qualifications and capacities for the job in question.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that we maintain an agreed objective system of rating candidates for recruitment by experience, skill, qualifications, or job record as appropriate, or other alternative objective system.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that comprehensive notes of interviews and marking criteria are kept for an appropriate period following the interview process.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that on any occasion where we use the services of external interviewers, they will be familiarised with the organisations equality/diversity policies as well as our commitment to valuing diversity.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that all training, work experience and employment counselling opportunities are open, available and accessible to full and part-time employees, including people from all of the nine grounds named in the Employment Equality Act.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to striving to ensure a balance of persons from within the nine grounds and to achieve a gender balance on our interview boards.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that interview venues are accessible to all candidates.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to undertaking positive actions on the nine grounds in the EEA 1998 (04) to promote diversity within the workplace.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that job appraisals are conducted on a basis which is non-discriminatory to all employees.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that those involved in conducting job appraisals with staff will do so in compliance with the provisions of the Employment Equality Act, 1998 (2004).
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that we have redundancy and dismissal procedures under review to ensure no direct or indirect discrimination on any of the discriminatory grounds listed. The ongoing review will be carried out in a partnership manner in consultation with employee representatives.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ongoing monitoring of our equality/diversity systems, procedures and policies to identify the emergence or existence of barriers which might adversely impact on either our staff or target group.
We at National Traveller MABS are committed to the provision of training, information and briefings in relation to equality of opportunity to staff at all levels of the organisation.
10.7 Positive Action
- We at National Traveller MABS value diversity and commit to supporting support any member of our staff who is treated less favourably on any of the nine grounds or treated unfairly by an external agency.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to taking steps to ensure that our employees for whom English is not their first language understand workplace rules and regulations.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that any queries about discrimination/unequal treatment/prejudice which are brought to the attention of our management and coordinators will be responded to in accordance with the process as laid out in our organisations policy.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to being aware of the diversity profile of our staff and their individual needs. Insofar as individual staff members are willing to provide information on themselves, we will endeavour to use this information to help improve the services and facilities we provide to our staff.
- National Traveller MABS is committed to respecting individual privacy and confidentiality.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to encouraging our staff to contact management if they are uncertain or unsure as to whether a situation constitutes equal treatment or discriminatory treatment.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to enhancing the opportunities to reconcile the work life balance amongst our employees.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that employees who avail of family friendly work arrangements will not be discriminated against and will not be treated less favourably than other employees.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to ensuring that our disciplinary procedures comply with the principles of natural justice and fairness and that those subject to such procedures are treated in a manner that upholds these principals.
- We at National Traveller MABS are committed to the principal of mainstreaming of equality and diversity policies and initiatives across our organisation.
10.8 Evaluate, Monitor & Review
We at National Traveller MABS are committed to monitoring the impact and operation of our diversity and equality policies and to ensuring that where lessons are learned that this learning is fed back into the development of future policies, training and other initiatives.