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Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Policy

1. Introduction

Baker Stuart (“The Company,” “we”) is committed to equality, valuing diversity, and ensuring inclusion within its workforce. We recognise that it is essential to provide equal opportunities to all persons without discrimination on grounds of gender, marital status, sexual orientation, race, colour, nationality, religion, age, disability, trade union activity or political beliefs – or any other grounds. Each of us is unique, whether in terms of our background, personal characteristics, experience, skills, or motivations. We value our people for the differences they bring to the table. Fostering an inclusive culture helps each of us to benefit from a wider range of these different perspectives, experiences, and skills. We believe that this creates a happier, more productive working environment for us all. To support this inclusive culture, this policy:
  • outlines our commitment throughout the employment lifecycle to equality, diversity, and inclusion and sets out how we put this commitment into practice;
  • explains the behaviours we expect of our people in support of this commitment; and
  • sets out the key steps we take to make our culture as inclusive as possible, including our diversity and inclusion framework and how we ensure equality of opportunity throughout the employment lifecycle.

This policy does not form part of your contract of employment, and we reserve the right to amend or withdraw it at any time.

2. Scope

This policy applies to anyone working for us. This includes employees, workers, contractors, volunteers, interns, and apprentices. The policy also relates to job applicants and is relevant to all stages of the employment relationship.

3. Our commitment to you

We believe that a culture of equality, diversity and inclusion not only benefits our organisation but supports wellbeing and enables our people to work better because they can be themselves and feel that they belong.

We are committed to promoting a working environment based on dignity, trust, and respect, and one that is free from discrimination, harassment, bullying or victimisation.

We ensure that our recruitment, promotion, and retention procedures do not treat people less favourably because of their:

  • disability
  • gender, gender identity or gender reassignment status
  • marital status
  • race, racial group, ethnic or national origin, or nationality
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • civil partnership status
  • pregnancy or maternity
  • paternity
  • socio-economic background
  • part-time status, or
  • fixed-term status

4. What we expect from you

We expect you, and every one of our people, to take personal responsibility for observing, upholding, promoting, and applying this policy. Our culture is made in the day-to-day working interactions between us so creating the right environment is a responsibility that we all share.

We expect you to treat your colleagues and third parties (including customers, suppliers, contractors, agency staff and consultants) fairly and with dignity, trust, and respect. Sometimes, this may mean allowing for different views and viewpoints and making space for others to contribute.

By embedding such values and constructively challenging inappropriate comments or ways of working, you can help us achieve and maintain a truly inclusive workplace culture.

Any dealings that you have with colleagues, or third parties must be free from any form of discrimination, harassment, victimisation, or bullying.

If any of our people is found to have committed, authorised, or condoned an act of discrimination, harassment, victimisation, or bullying, we will take action against them including (for those to whom it applies) under our Disciplinary procedure.

You should be aware that you can be personally liable for discrimination and harassment.

5. Discrimination

The Equality Act 2010 prohibits discrimination because of certain protected characteristics. These are:

  • disability
  • sex
  • gender reassignment
  • marital or civil partnership status
  • race
  • religion or belief
  • sexual orientation
  • age, and
  • pregnancy or maternity


Discrimination can be intentional or unintentional and may occur directly, indirectly, by association, or by perception (see Different types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010).

There are also two specific types of discrimination that apply only to disability: “discrimination arising from disability” and “failing to make reasonable adjustments” (see Different types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010).

Discrimination is not always obvious and can be subtle and unconscious. This stems from a person’s general assumptions about the abilities, interests and characteristics of a particular group that influences how they treat those people (known as “unconscious bias”). Such assumptions or prejudices may cause them to apply requirements or conditions that put those in particular groups at a disadvantage. Examples include:

    • steering employees into particular types of work on the basis of stereotypical assumptions without considering the particular attributes and abilities of individuals;
    • recruiting or promoting individuals into particular roles because of assumptions about the reactions or preferences of other employees or clients; and
    • using different standards for different groups of employees to judge performance.

Different types of discrimination under the Equality Act 2010

  • Direct discrimination: Treating someone less favourably because of a protected characteristic compared with someone who does not have that characteristic (for example choosing not to recruit someone because they are disabled, and you think they “wouldn’t fit in” to the team).
  • Indirect discrimination: Where a policy, procedure, or way of working that applies to everyone puts people with a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage, compared with people who do not have that characteristic, unless there is a good reason to justify it. An example is introducing a requirement for all staff to finish work at 6pm. It is arguable that female employees, who statistically bear the larger share of childcare responsibilities could be at a disadvantage if the new working hours prevent them from collecting their children from school or nursery.
  • Associative discrimination: Treating someone less favourably because they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, for example because their partner is transgender.
  • Discrimination by perception: Treating someone less favourably because you perceive them to have a protected characteristic even if they do not, for example choosing not to promote someone because you mistakenly perceive them to be gay.
  • Discrimination arising from disability: Treating someone unfavourably because of something connected with that person’s disability and where such treatment is not justified. Examples include:
    • dismissing or failing to pay a bonus to someone because of their disability-related absence; or
    • disciplining someone for losing their temper where such loss of temper was out of character and was due to severe pain caused by them having cancer.
  • Failing to make reasonable adjustments: Employers are legally obliged to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that aspects of employment, or the employer’s premises, do not put a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage. Failing to comply with this duty is unlawful. Examples of reasonable adjustments might include:
    • allocating some of the disabled person’s duties to a colleague;
    • changing their working hours or place of work;
    • adjusting procedures for assessing job candidates; and
    • modifying disciplinary and grievance procedures.

6. Harassment and sexual harassment

Harassment is unwanted conduct related to a protected characteristic that has the purpose or effect of:
  • violating someone else’s dignity; or
  • creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for someone else.
Sexual harassment is:
  • conduct of a sexual nature that has the purpose or effect of violating someone’s dignity, or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment; and
  • less favourable treatment related to sex or gender reassignment that occurs because of a rejection of, or submission to, sexual conduct.

Baker Stuart will take all reasonable steps to eliminate harassment based on a protected characteristic and sexual harassment, in all aspects of employment.

7. Victimisation

Victimisation is treating another person detrimentally either because that person has made a complaint of discrimination or harassment, or because they have supported someone else who has made such a complaint, for example by giving a witness statement that supports the allegations.

Baker Stuart will take all reasonable steps to eliminate victimisation in all aspects of employment.

8. Bullying

There is no legal definition of bullying. However, we regard it as conduct that is offensive, intimidating, malicious, insulting, or an abuse or misuse of power, and usually persistent, that has the effect of undermining, humiliating, or injuring the recipient.

Bullying can be physical, verbal, or non-verbal conduct. It is not necessarily face to face and can be done by email, phone calls, online or on social media. Bullying may occur at work or outside work.

If the bullying relates to a person’s protected characteristic, it may also constitute harassment and, therefore, will be unlawful.

9. Equality of opportunity

The major impact of this policy may be felt in the areas of Recruitment, Selection and Career Development. The policy is, nevertheless, applicable to any employment matter in which the equitable treatment of a current, past, or potential employee may be at issue.

Fairness at work will apply to all of our employees throughout their working life, from recruitment and selection right through to retirement. Listed below are the key employment areas where equality is important and the actions that the Company will take to ensure that the application of these areas is fair and consistent.

10. Recruitment

We take reasonable and appropriate steps to encourage job applications from as diverse a range of people as possible.

Anyone conducting recruitment exercises must not discriminate in any way and must have attended appropriate diversity and inclusion training.

Every decision-maker should challenge themselves, and other members of the recruitment selection panel, to make sure that any stereotypes, unconscious bias, or prejudice do not play any part in recruitment decisions.

  • Advertisements for posts will give sufficiently clear and accurate information to enable potential applicants to assess their own suitability for the post. Information about vacant posts will be provided in such a manner that does not restrict its audience in terms of sex, race, marital status, disability, age, part-time or fixed term contract status, sexual orientation, or religion.
  • Recruitment literature will not imply a preference for one group of applicants unless there is a genuine occupational qualification which limits the post to this particular group, in which case this must be clearly stated.
  • All vacancies will be circulated internally (and may be advertised externally using a range of recruitment options including multi-media advertisements) for at least four weeks.
  • All role descriptions and person specifications for posts will include only requirements that are necessary and justifiable for the effective performance of the job.
  • All selection will be thorough, conducted against defined criteria and will deal only with the applicant’s suitability for the job. Where it is necessary to ask questions relating to personal circumstances, these will be related purely to job requirements and asked to all candidates.

11. Disability inclusion

Recruiting people with a disability

The recruitment team will consider disability in advance of a recruitment campaign so that advertising, application forms and assessments, arrangements for interviews, job descriptions and employee specifications, and selection criteria are appropriate and as inclusive as possible.

We will ask applicants at the outset if they require any reasonable adjustments to be made to the recruitment process. These may include ensuring easy access to the premises for an interview/adapting psychometric tests/replacing psychometric tests with an alternative option/providing an alternative to a telephone interview for a deaf candidate/providing a suitable chair for an interview with a candidate suffering from back problems/etc.

If you are involved in the interview process, you must not ask job applicants about their health or disability except with prior approval from the operations manager. Such approval is given only in exceptional circumstances and where there are specific legal grounds for doing so.

Talking about disability

We understand that some people find it hard to discuss their disabilities and that disability can be invisible.

Psychological safety, where people feel able to speak up about their experiences without fear of negative consequences, is paramount to ensuring disability inclusion.

However, this is only possible if we treat people with dignity, trust and respect and we expect everyone to uphold these values.

We do not tolerate ableist language in our organisation. Ableist language is language that is negative, inappropriate, or offensive towards people with a disability and may take the form of jokes or “banter”. If you adopt such language, we will take action against you including (for those to whom it applies) under our Disciplinary procedure.

Reasonable adjustments

If you have a disability, you do not have to tell us. However, we would encourage you to let us know so that we can support you, for example by making reasonable adjustments to our premises or to aspects of your role, or to our working practices.

If you are experiencing difficulties at work because of your disability, please contact your line manager/operations manager to discuss potential reasonable adjustments that may alleviate or minimise such difficulties. We may need to discuss your needs with you and your medical adviser to help us get the right support in place.

For colleagues who are returning from long-term disability-related absence, we have a return-to-work support programme in place. For further information, please contact your line manager/the operations manager.

Support

If you have a disability, or you care for someone with a disability, and need emotional support or help with practical issues, please contact our employee assistance programme for free, confidential advice. Details of how to access this service are available via the Company Handbook or from the operations manager.

12. Employment

Baker Stuart will not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, marital status, disability, age, part-time or fixed term contract status, sexual orientation, or religion in the allocation of duties between employees employed at any level with comparable job descriptions.

BakerStuart will put in place any reasonable measures and/or adjustments within the workplace for those employees who become disabled during employment or for disabled appointees.

All employees will be considered solely on their merits for career development.

13. Training

Employees will be provided with appropriate training regardless of sex, race, marital status, disability, age, part-time or fixed term contract status, sexual orientation, or religion.

All employees will be encouraged to discuss their career prospects and training needs with their line manager or the Operations Manager.

If you are involved with making decisions about a person’s employment, you must attend appropriate equality, diversity, and inclusion training.

We expect all our people to proactively support our equality, diversity, and inclusion initiatives by attending any requested or required events and workshops to educate themselves on the challenges faced by others and how to help alleviate these in the workplace.

14. Monitoring & Review

We analyse diversity and inclusion data (in compliance with our data protection obligations) on an ongoing basis to assess the impact of this policy and our equality, diversity, and inclusion strategy.

The policy will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to reflect changes in the law, demographics, and internal business requirements.

This Policy Statement has been approved & authorised by:

Name:                Wayne Spiller

Position:             Managing  Director 

Date:                   13th May 2024

Signature:

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Offices in London, Manchester,
Edinburgh and Dublin
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