RDF Group Equal Opportunities Policy Case Study Image

Equal Opportunities Policy

RDF Property Maintenance Ltd supports the principles of equal opportunities in employment and diversity in the workforce. It is committed to ensuring that employees and job applicants are not discriminated against either directly or indirectly on the grounds of disability, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, colour, religion, ethnic or national origin.

RDF Property Maintenance Ltd recognises the valuable contribution a diverse workforce can offer the services provided by the Trust, in ensuring that sensitive and appropriate care is provided to the population it serves. To this end the Trust aims to create and sustain a workforce reflective of the diversity within the local population.

The policy has been written in accordance with the following statutory requirements:

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995
  • Equal Pay Act 1973
  • Equal Pay (Amendment) Regulations 1983
  • Race Relations Act 1970
  • Race Relations Amendment Act 2002
  • Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
  • Sex discrimination Acts 1975 & 1986

RDF Property Maintenance Ltd will support and promote subsequent developments in relevant legislation such as the age discrimination legislation due to come into force in 2006, in its policy.

Aim of the Policy

The policy aims to prevent discrimination and to actively promote diversity in the workforce and equality of opportunity. The purpose of the policy is to clarify how RDF Property Maintenance Ltd aims to prevent discrimination, stimulate equality of opportunity and manage diversity.


The major impact of the policy will be felt in the areas of recruitment and selection, training, promotion, career development and conditions of service. It nevertheless applies to any employment matter in which the equitable treatment of a current or potential employee may be an issue. RDF Property Maintenance Ltd will ensure equal opportunities are available to all by enforcing the policy at all levels of the organisation.


Discrimination in employment occurs as a result of prejudice, misconception and stereotyping which hinders the proper consideration of the individual’s skill, ability, experience and potential. It can be direct or indirect, intentional or unintentional.

Direct Discrimination
This occurs where a person is or would be, treated less favourably them another in the same or not substantially different circumstances. Examples of this are encouraging only male staff to study for professional qualifications or not promoting an Asian woman because it is thought that she would not fit in.

Indirect Discrimination
This is where a condition of a job is applied to all people but which in practise, is such fewer people in certain groups are able to comply and it cannot be shown justifiable. An example of this would be setting an age limit for a job which fewer women of that age would be eligible because of taking a career break to have a family.

Disability Discrimination
This occurs:

  • When a disabled person is treated less favourably than other employees or job applicants for reasons related to his/her disability and the employer cannot show that this treatment is justified.
  • When there is a failure to comply with a duty of reasonable adjustment.* If the failure cannot be justified, the employer will have discriminated against the disabled person.

* The duty of reasonable adjustment is defined in the Act as steps which it is reasonable for the employers to have to take in all the circumstances of the case to reduce or remove any substantial disadvantage which a physical feature of their premises or their employment arrangements causes a disabled employee or job applicant compared to a non-disabled person.

This occurs when a person is treated less favourably than others because s/he has made a complaint or allegation of discrimination, has acted as a witness or informant in connection with a discrimination case in line with this policy, has been involved in any other way with its enforcement or intends to do any of these things.

This is behaviour that is unwelcome, unwanted, unreciprocated and offensive to the recipient. It is not the intention of the perpetrator but the deed itself and the impact on the recipient that determines what constitutes harassment.

The definition of disability in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) Is that a person has a disability if s/he has a physical or mental impairment and that impairment has an adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day to day activities and that effect is substantial and long term. This includes physical impairments affecting the senses such as sight and hearing also mental impairments including learning disabilities and mental illness if these are recognised by a respected body of medical opinion.

The DDA states that an impairment has to be substantial. The following are examples of impairment that are likely to be considered substantial:

  • Inability to see moving traffic clearly enough to cross a road safely
  • Inability to turn taps or knobs
  • Inability to remember and relay a simple message correctly

A physical or mental impairment is considered to be long term if it has lasted at least 12 months or is likely to last for a total period of at least six months or is likely to last for a total period of at least six months or is likely to last for the rest of the person’s life. Long term effects include those which are likely to occur. An effect would be considered long term if it is likely both to recur. An effect would be considered long term if it is likely both to recur and to do so at least once beyond the 12 month period following the first occurrence.

The Act states that there is only an effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day to day activities if the impairment affects any of the following:

  • Mobility – being able to move unaided from place to place
  • Manual dexterity
  • Physical co-ordination
  • Continence
  • Ability to lift, carrying or moving ordinary objects
  • Speech, hearing or eye sight
  • Memory or ability to concentrate, learn or understand
  • Ability to recognise physical danger

It does not include things which only a particular person or group of people do regularly. For example, playing tennis to professional standard would not be considered a normal day to day activity.

Age Discrimination
This occurs when arbitrary age barriers are placed on jobs and when age is used to make decisions regarding recruitment, selection, training and promotion. RDF Property Maintenance Ltd has a Flexible Retirement Policy which should be used in cases where staff wish to work past normal retirement age.

Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974
This concerns the use of information about ‘spent’ convictions to discriminate unfairly against a particular person without justification, where the job itself does not contain constraints. Most jobs in RDF Property Maintenance Ltd are exempt from this Act so applicants must declare any previous convictions on their application form. Managers will have the choice of employing someone who has declared a conviction. This should be handled sensitively and the manager must consider whether or not the conviction has any relevance to the post.


All employees have some measure of responsibility for the effective operation of this policy.

Individual employees are required to:

  • Co-operate with any measures introduced to develop or monitor equal opportunity.
  • Not to discriminate or harass other employees because of their disabilities, age gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race colour, religion, ethnic or national origin.
  • Not to place pressure on other employees to act in a discriminatory manner.
  • To resist pressure by other employees to discriminate and to report such incidents to ensure they can be properly managed.
  • To co-operate with investigations into acts or conduct which may amount to unfair or unlawful discrimination.

Managers responsible for:

  • Ensuring their management practices are consistent with the spirit and content of this policy.
  • Ensuring their staff are aware of this policy.
  • For actively and positively promoting awareness among staff of the principles involved.
  • For leading by example in developing and promoting equality and fairness in the work place.
  • For taking remedial action against staff where infringements of the policy arise.
  • Reviewing existing employment policies in relation to this policy and taking remedial action as appropriate.
  • Providing guidance to managers and staff on all aspects of this policy.
  • Devising and maintaining systems for monitoring employment practices consistent with the aims of this policy, in line with codes of good practice and the requirements of the Race Relations Amendment Act.
  • Reviewing and updating this policy following changes in legislation and codes of practice.


Any employee who unfairly or unlawfully discriminates against another employee, induces other to practice unfair or unlawful discrimination or fails to co-operate with measures designed to promote equality of opportunity may be subject to formal disciplinary action, which could include dismissal.


Any actual or potential employee who perceives a problem with recruitment, selection, training, promotion, the application of conditions of service or the conduct of colleagues, should it raise it in accordance with RDF Property Maintenance Ltd grievance, harassment or complaints procedures as appropriate.

RDF Property Maintenance Ltd aims to resolve such matters at the most local level appropriate and within the shortest possible time frame. If however, an employee is dissatisfied with the outcome of any matter raised, s/he is not prevented for pursuing his/her rights through other routes, which may include Employment Tribunal.

Recruitment and Selection

The intention of recruitment procedures is to ensure the widest response of suitable applicants to any vacancies within RDF Property Maintenance Ltd. The selection process must be carried out according to objective, job related criteria. RDF Property Maintenance Ltd will endeavour through appropriate training, to ensure that employees responsible for recruitment will not discriminate, whether consciously or unconsciously, when appointing staff.

The following sections focus on the equal opportunities elements of recruitment and selection and are intended to provide a sensitive and flexible framework so that the policy can be put into practice. Further details of the practical implementation of recruitment are provided in the RDF Property Maintenance Ltd Selection Procedure. The combined aim of these documents is to maintain a high standard of recruitment practice throughout The Company.


The wording of job advertisements must correspond with the main points in both job description and the person specification. They must be clear and unambiguous and avoid and discriminatory clauses which indicate direct or indirect discrimination. Publications and other methods of distribution used must be broad enough to give all sections of the community a reasonable chance of seeing them.

Advertisements and supporting literature sent to applicants must confirm that The Company supports equal opportunities. All posts will be advertised internally through the Internal Vacancy Bulletin but they may appear in external publications simultaneously.


The Company is committed to the training and development of its staff to their full potential and will not discriminate in the provision of and access to training and development.

The Company has implemented and will maintain a system of personal and professional development planning for all employees. Development needs arising from these will be provided for according to individual need, service requirements and as any budgetary constraints allow.

Discipline and Grievance Procedures

Instances of discrimination, abuse, intimidation or harassment on the grounds of disabilities, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, colour, religion, ethnic or national origin may be considered gross misconduct and dealt with under The Company Managing Performance and Conduct Policy.

An employee who complains of such discrimination, abuse, intimidation or harassment must not be victimised for doing so. All employees have the right to seek redress for their grievances and they must be informed of this right by their managers. Grievances must be treated equally and fairly and not subjected to assumptions about the personal sensitivity of the employee expressing the grievance.

Redundancy and Termination of Employment

The selection criteria for redundancy, dismissal or early retirement must not discriminate directly or indirectly on the basis of disabilities, age, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, race, colour, religion, ethnic or national origin. All early terminations of employment must be handles in a fair and consistent manner.


Managers must ensure that in-service experience and training, including the provision for gaining experience at a higher level, are offered fairly and equally to staff. All RDF Property Maintenance Ltd vacancies will be advertised in the Vacancy Bulletin to ensure staffs are aware of potential career opportunities and may subsequently be advertised in the national press. The criteria for selection for promotion will be the same as for initial recruitment.

Conditions of Service

Any local conditions of service in place must not discriminate unjustifiably against any individual member of staff. The implementation and resultant working arrangements must be applied equally and fairly to all employees.

Organisational Arrangements

This policy applies to all departments and employees of The Company, particularly those in a position of responsibility with control over other employees and the power to select or dismiss staff.

Tender specifications must state that outside organisations and contractors are required to produce copies of their Equal Opportunities Policies. Manager should pay particular attention to these and satisfy themselves that they are comparable to those of The Company.

Appendix 1

Asylum & immigration act 1997, list of specified documents

Production of any one of the following provides employers with the statutory defence under Section 8 of the Asylum & Immigration Act 1997.

  1. An official document issued by a previous employer, the Inland Revenue, the Benefits Agency or the Contribution Agency of the Employment Service, which states the person’s National Insurance Number.
  2. A passport describing the holder to be a British citizen or having the right of abode in or an entitlement to re-admission to the UK. There are six different groups of persons who may hold a British passport: British citizens, British Dependant Territories citizens, British Overseas citizens, British Protected Persons, British Nationals (Overseas) and British subjects. Of these groups, only British citizens have the right of abode in the UK and are free to live and work here without immigration control.
    People who fall within the other groups may hold British passports but still need to obtain immigration clearances before they can work in the UK. The passport should be examined to establish whether or not the status of a potential employee is such that they have the right to work in the UK.
  3. A passport containing a certificate of entitlement of right of abode.
  4. A birth certificate issued in the UK or in the Republic of Ireland.
  5. A certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen. These certificates are issued to people who have been granted British citizenship although they may not hold a British passport. They are nevertheless entitled to work in the UK.
  6. A European Economic Area (EEA) passport or identity document. Citizens of countries within the EEA are able to take up work in the UK without obtaining immigration authorisation.
    The countries within EEA are Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Swiss citizens must obtain immigration clearance to work on the UK as Switzerland is not part of the EEA.
  7. A passport or other travel document endorsed to show the person is exempt from immigration control or has indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK or has no time limit on his/her stay or a Home Office letter confirming this.
    People who are settled in the UK have no time limit of length of stay in this country and are free to work here. Their passports contain a special endorsement which can take several forms e.g. “There is at present no time limit on the holder’s permitted stay in the UK” or “Given leave to remain in the UK for an indefinite period”.
    There are many different passport endorsements which show that the holder is able to work in the UK. In all the above cases, if you are uncertain as to whether a document or passport endorsement entitles a person to work in the UK, you should contact the Home Office.
  8. A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the person has current leave to enter or remain in the UK and is not precluded from taking the employment in question or a Home Office letter confirming this.
  9. A UK resident permit issued to a national of a member state of the EEA.
  10. A passport or other travel document endorsed to show that the named person has the right of residence in the UK as a family member of a named person who is a national of a named member state of the EEA and resident in the UK.
  11. A letter issued by the Home Office indicating that the person has permission to take up employment.
  12. A letter issued by the Home Office confirming that the person is a British citizen.
  13. A work permit or other approval to take employment issued by the Department for Education and Employment (DfEE).


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