EQUALITY, DIVERSITY, AND INCLUSION POLICY

Introduction

It is SignStix’s policy to attract individuals from all backgrounds and provide a working environment that encourages everyone to work to their full potential, by providing a diverse and inclusive environment to support this.

SignStix appreciates that as individuals we all have different needs, cultural and personal values, and beliefs and that our work environment, policies, and practices need to support these. Our approach to business is underpinned by a belief that all individuals should be treated fairly and have access to equal opportunities regardless of their status.

This approach reinforces the principles of the Equality Act 2010 (to improve equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants) which states that legally there are some characteristics that are protected.

This means that someone should not be treated unfairly because of their sex, sexual orientation, age, race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origin, religion or belief, disability, marriage or civil partnership, gender reassignment, pregnancy, and maternity (referred throughout the remainder of this policy as “protected characteristics”).

Generic Principle

Every manager, employee and worker has personal responsibility for the implementation of this policy to ensure fairness and equality and to support diversity and inclusion. Any employee who discriminates against any other employee, supplier, partner, or client on the grounds of race, sex, creed, age, disability sexual orientation or belief will be subject to the organisation’s disciplinary procedure.

In serious cases, such behaviour will be deemed to constitute gross misconduct and, as such, will result in summary dismissal in the absence of mitigating circumstances.

To fully appreciate the importance of Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion, it is important to appreciate the differences between them and how we define them as a company.

Definitions

1. Equality (the quality of being the same). Everyone is awarded the equal right to status, access, opportunity, and all aspects of the work environment.

2. Diversity (the mix). Diversity refers to the wide range of visible and invisible differences that exist among people – these include but are not limited to values, beliefs, physical differences, ethnicity, age, gender, experiences, thinking styles, backgrounds, preferences, and behaviours.

3. Inclusion (making the mix work). Inclusion refers to proactive behaviours that create an environment in which all people are actively included – treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can be themselves while contributing fully to the organisation’s success.

Policy

The Policy covers all Employees who are employed on SignStix’s Terms and Conditions of Employment, plus all agency workers, contractors, and self-employed workers.

SignStix is committed to encouraging and supporting a diverse and inclusive workforce and respects human rights within its sphere of influence, to safeguard an ethical working environment.

Any instance of doubt about the application of the policy, or other questions, should be addressed to the Human Resources department.

Diversity and Inclusion

SignStix will not unlawfully discriminate on any of the protected characteristics.

Direct discrimination occurs when an individual or group of individuals is treated less favourably on one of the prohibited grounds.

Indirect discrimination occurs when the employer imposes a provision, criterion, or practice, which, although applied to all job applicants or employees, has a disproportionately adverse effect on a certain group of people on one or more of the prohibited grounds.

Harassment 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.

Victimisation means retaliation against someone who has complained or has supported someone else’s complaint about discrimination or harassment.

Disability discrimination includes direct and indirect discrimination, any unjustified less favourable treatment because of the effects of disability, and failure to make reasonable adjustments to alleviate disadvantages caused by disability.

We believe diversity goes beyond visible differences to include different educational backgrounds, professional knowledge, personality types, thinking styles and life experiences.

We actively support and encourage an environment where everyone feels able to speak openly, challenge appropriately and share their thoughts and ideas in a non-judgemental environment.

Only in that way, can we discover the best ideas and develop true innovation. The policy applies in the workplace, outside the workplace (when dealing with customers, suppliers, or other work-related contacts), and on work-related trips or events including social events.

Should an individual’s behaviour be under suspicion of being discriminatory, or should a complaint be made about someone’s behaviour in relation to bullying or harassment in relation to any of the protected characteristics, they will be subject to an investigation following SignStix’s Disciplinary Policy.

Disability

Disabled employees or those directly affected by being a carer of a disabled person may require reasonable adjustments to enable them to either start their employment or continue to work with adjusted working conditions.

Additionally, SignStix will act reasonably and sensitively towards employees where a disability diagnosis has not taken place, but where the individual is severely impacted by a long-running medical condition. This policy applies to all aspects of employment with SignStix, including recruitment, performance management, training and development, career progression, conduct at work, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and termination of employment. It covers all employees, contractors, and agency workers.

If you are disabled, become disabled or are a carer of a disabled person, we encourage you to tell us about your condition so that we can support you as appropriate. If you experience difficulties at work because of your disability, you should speak to your line manager or to the Human Resources Department to discuss any reasonable adjustments that would help overcome or minimise the difficulty.

SignStix will consult with both you and possibly a medical adviser about possible adjustments. We will consider the matter carefully and try to accommodate your needs within reason. If we consider a particular adjustment would not be reasonable, we will explain our reasons and try to find an alternative solution where possible.

SignStix’s Commitment

Whilst it is important that SignStix has policies and practices to support an inclusive workforce, we all have a part to play in recognising that as individuals we are all different and by harnessing this variety of skills, backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences we can remain competitive.

Responsibilities

It is expected from all employees to become familiar with the policy and its requirements and carry them out as well as critically examine attitudes to ensure that discrimination is not allowed to affect personal judgement.

It is expected from line managers to support and embrace the principles of this policy in their actions and behaviours as well as their hiring decisions for the development of equality and diversity in the work environment. Line managers need to recognise and act if the principles are not embraced in their teams.

Complaints Procedure

Any Employee may use the Grievance Procedure outlined in the Grievance Policy to complain about discriminatory or unfair treatment and conduct towards an employee, supplier, or customer on any of the protected characteristics.

Such complaints must be raised with their Line Manager and/or the Human Resources department. If the matter relates to bullying or harassment, again the grievance may be raised directly with the Human Resources department.

SignStix is committed to ensuring that employees feel able to raise such grievances and no individual will be penalised for raising such a legitimate grievance.

Every allegation will be dealt with seriously and sensitively and will not be treated lightly or ignored. Managers have a responsibility to respond to any alleged case of discrimination or harassment occurring and to take such preventative steps that are necessary.

All formal complaints relating to any form of discrimination should be referred to the Human Resources department, in the first instance.

Please refer to the Disciplinary Policy and Grievance Policy for further guidance.

Monitoring

SignStix will monitor the make-up of the workforce regarding information such as age, sex, ethnic background, sexual orientation, religion or belief, and disability in encouraging equality, diversity and inclusion, and in meeting the aims and commitments set out in the equality, diversity and inclusion policy.SignStix will undertake a formal review of this policy at regular intervals or after significant changes in our business and consider taking action to address any issues.