Swansea University Equal Opportunities Code of Practice
Swansea University is an Equal Opportunities Employer. The following statement has been approved by the University Council:
" Swansea University, in conformity with the general intention of its charter, confirms its commitment to a comprehensive policy of equal opportunities in employment in which individuals are selected, trained, appraised, promoted including selection for the RAE, where applicable and otherwise treated on the basis of their relevant merits and abilities and are given equal opportunities within the University. The law requires that no job applicant or employee will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex (including transexuals), marital status, trades union membership, disability, age, religion and belief or sexual orientation. Account will also be taken of the policy on recruitment of ex-offenders. Where the law does not currently prescribe every effort will be made to avoid discrimination on grounds of political belief, socio-economic background, parental status. Swansea University is committed to a programme of action to ensure that this policy be fully effective".
The purpose of this code of practice is to outline practices by which the University's statement of policy may be given full effect.
The policy of protection against unfair treatment or unjustifiable disadvantage includes areas covered by the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and amendments, the Disability Rights Commission Act (1999), the Equal Pay Act (1970) and Amendments (1983), the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (1974), the Sex Discrimination Act (1975), the Sex Discrimination [Gender Reassignment] Regulations (1999), and the Race Relations Act (1976), the Race Relations [Amendment] Act (2000), the Equal Treatment Directive (1976), the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Human Rights Act (1998) and the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006, the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003, the Civil Partnerships Act (2004), the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 and in addition the University welcomes and values the advice offered by the Codes of Practice issued by the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Department for Employment and Education in respect of race, gender and disability issues.
Some of the above legislation covers direct and indirect discrimination. Direct discrimination is always illegal, e.g. when a person is refused a job or promotion because of their ethnic origin or their sex or because they are married. Indirect discrimination consists of applying in any circumstances covered by the legislation a requirement or condition, which although applied equally to persons of all racial groups or equally to both sexes or equally to married or unmarried persons, is such that a considerably smaller proportion of a particular racial group or of one sex can comply with it and it cannot be shown to be justifiable other than on racial grounds or grounds of sex. Indirect discrimination is illegal when unjustifiable.
Swansea University recognises its responsibility as required by the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) and the Disability Rights Commission Act (1999) to make reasonable adjustments in all relevant areas - selection, promotion, transfer, training and conditions of employment (except the occupational pension schemes) so that disabled people are not placed at a substantial disadvantage compared with non disabled people.
The University also recognises its duty, as required by the Race Relations Act (1976) and the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000 and expressed in its Race Equality Policy Statement, to promote race equality and to:
- Eliminate unlawful racial discrimination;
- Promote equality of opportunity; and
- Promote good relations between people of different racial groups.
This duty is obligatory and must be reflected in the University’s monitoring, reviewing and evaluation systems.
In order to ensure full implementation of its equal opportunities policies, the University has issued an Equal Opportunities Action Plan covering the following areas:
- Statistics and monitoring;
- Targets, positive action;
- Recruitment procedures;
- Work-life balance;
- Dignity at work;
- Equal pay and salary structures; and
- Communication and participation.
All members of the University are encouraged to assist in the removal of any discriminatory practices that may exist in the University by drawing them to the attention of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Administration) or the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Human Resources), in order to promote practices which will lead to an increase in equality of opportunity.
The University states on application forms and appropriate recruitment material, e.g. further particulars of duties sent to prospective applicants, that it is an Equal Opportunities Employer.
It is the general policy that all posts will be advertised externally but occasionally it will be necessary to restrict them to the University's own employees, for example, in cases of redeployment. In such cases the advertisement will be circulated widely throughout the University. Otherwise careful consideration will be given to the most appropriate means of advertising posts and steps will be taken to ensure that notices are advertised in a range of media which are likely to reach potential applicants from all areas of the community. In addition, a Bulletin is produced on a weekly basis by the Swansea University Department which identifies all vacant posts within the University. Copies of the Bulletin are circulated to a range of community groups.
The University has issued and updated its own guidelines incorporating acceptable practice under the law on selection procedures to all appropriate people.
The University gives careful consideration to membership of interview panels to take account of principles of equal opportunities. Wherever suitably qualified persons are available there should be at least one member of each sex on such bodies. The University has developed procedures with regard to the composition of interview panels and interview arrangements.
The University attempts to ensure that as far as is reasonably practical all who come into contact with job applicants are trained in the provisions relevant to their responsibilities of all appropriate legislation and codes.
The University uses interview record forms which are completed at the end of each appointment process giving the reasons for the rejection of each unsuccessful candidate. These are retained for a minimum period of six months in case a complaint of discrimination is made.
Terms and Conditions of Service
The University is committed to maintaining an environment which encourages all members of staff to contribute fully and on an equal basis in their work to the life of the University. The working environment should be supportive of the dignity and self-esteem of individuals and free from harassment. The University recognises that actions or words reflecting prejudice against members of disadvantaged or minority groups and liable to cause offence to them are not conducive to a good working environment. Behaviour of this kind will be subject to disciplinary action. The University has issued a Dignity at Work and Study Policy which offers advice to staff including the names of a network of Counsellors who have received training to deal with harassment and bullying issues.
The University will continue to make every effort to ensure as far as is reasonably practical all parts of the University are accessible and safe for all staff regardless of physical disablement.
The University will, subject to operational requirements, give sympathetic consideration to members of staff whose personal circumstances change and will endeavour to meet these needs through agreement on retraining, redeployment, and/or alternative working arrangements where practical.
Particular consideration will be given to flexible working arrangements and schemes for those with domestic responsibilities in an attempt to retain their valuable skills and expertise and to help them to plan their careers.
The University will keep under regular review the provision of child care facilities.
Promotion and Career Development
The University is committed to offering all members of staff opportunities for training and promotion within the terms of their employment and on the basis of their relevant qualifications and abilities. It supports the principle that career development and promotion prospects should be available to all members of staff regardless of race, colour, nationality, ethnic or national origins, sex, marital status, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion and belief. Details of all training arrangements are widely displayed and circulated. A Bulletin detailing all training arrangements is circulated throughout the University on a termly basis by the Staff Development Office.
The University notes that Section 47 of the Sex Discrimination Act 1975 and Sections 37 & 38 of the Race Relations Act allow an employer to give special encouragement to and provide specific training for a particular sex or racial group where it can be shown that few or no members of that sex or racial group have done work in their employment for the previous 12 months. Such positive measures might include: (a) training employees (male or female) for work which is traditionally the preserve of the other sex (b) giving special encouragement through for example special courses, for women or men or people from ethnic minority groups to equip themselves for posts in areas where they are underrepresented (c) placing advertisements which encourage applications from the minority sex or racial group, but which make it clear that selection will be made on the basis of job related criteria.
The University regularly reviews all criteria and procedures for promotion, appraisal, career development, regrading and discretionary payments to ensure that they comply with the University's Equal Opportunities Policy and are operated fairly. On considering the selection and promotion of academics due weight is given to relevant achievements other than publications for those people who have taken time out of the labour market for family reasons, e.g. in areas of teaching skills and the ability to communicate effectively.
Members of staff alleging that they have been the victim of discrimination, harassment or victimisation by the University or one of its members of staff should seek support through the University’s informal or formal procedures for resolving such issues and may invoke the University’s establishes grievance procedures.
The University endeavours to use non-discriminatory language in all internal and external documents, official correspondence, publications and other communications. The University has produced a booklet (document J2256) which offers guidance for good practice in connection with the preparation of publicity materials.
The University keeps under constant review the membership of all Committees of the University and other official bodies to ensure that minority groups and women have appropriate representation.
Information, Training and Administration on Equal Opportunities
This Code of Practice will be publicised in appropriate ways within the University and a copy has been issued to all members of staff and is given to all new employees on the commencement of their employment.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Administration) of the University will have overall responsibility for ensuring the formulation, implementation and monitoring of the University's Equal Opportunities Policy.
The University identifies the Director of Human Resources for the responsibility for advising the University's senior management and other appropriate staff and committees of the University, in matters of equal opportunities in employment.
The University has established a Committee with a membership which includes management representatives and trade union representatives in which matters of equal opportunity in employment are considered.
The University arranges appropriate training courses to ensure that not only senior management but also existing staff are aware of their responsibilities in the implementation of the University's Equal Opportunities Policy
The University maintains as comprehensive a statistical record as possible of the representation of women, men, members of racial or ethnic minorities and people with disabilities amongst applicants for posts, candidates interviewed, new appointments, current staff promotions and holders of discretionary awards. Staff statistics are monitored annually through the Equal Opportunities Committee. These statistics are presented on the University’s website.
The information for this record is gained through voluntary self assessment. It is achieved by potential and existing staff completing an Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form.
The University through its appropriate Equal Opportunities Committee makes an annual report through the university's committee structure to its Human Resources Committee, Senate and Council on the workings of its Equal Opportunities Policy. This report includes information on the outcome of the years monitoring, specific measures to promote equal opportunities and recommendations, if necessary, on where improvements could be made.
NOTE: 'University' in all instances refers to the Swansea University.
The following documents, which are under review, have been produced to assist the University to develop practices, which ensure that its Equal Opportunities Statement of Policy may be given full effect - copies may be obtained from the Swansea University Department. L5915 Guidelines for Recruitment L5893 Dignity at Work and Study Policy J2256 Equal Opportunities, Publicity Materials: Guidance for Good Practice L4095 Race Equality Policy Statement.