Morrish Solicitors LLP is committed to eliminating discrimination and encouraging equality and diversity amongst our workforce. Our aim is to ensure that our workforce is truly representative of all sections of society and that each employee feels respected and able to contribute fully.
To that end the purpose of this policy is to provide equality and fairness for all in our employment and not to discriminate on grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age. We oppose all forms of discrimination.
All employees, whether part-time, full-time or temporary, will be treated fairly and with respect. Conditions of service and selection for employment, promotion, training or any other benefit will be on the basis of aptitude and ability.
All employees will be helped and encouraged to develop their full potential and the talents and resources of the workforce will be fully utilised to maximise the efficiency of the organisation.
- To create an environment in which individual differences and the contributions of all our staff are recognised and valued.
- To provide every employee with a working environment that promotes dignity and respect for all. No form of intimidation, bullying or harassment will be tolerated.
1. All Dealings
The Firm will deal with all persons with the same attention, courtesy and consideration regardless of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age.
It is unlawful to discriminate against individuals, either directly or indirectly on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age.
The relevant legislation is set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996 and the Equality Act 2010.
Codes of Practice have been produced and have been used as a basis for this policy.
3. Disability Discrimination
Detailed provisions are set out in the schedule to this policy.
The Firm is generally free to decide whether to accept instructions from any particular client but any refusal to act will not be based upon the sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age of the prospective client.
5. Providing our services: Non-Discrimination Generally
The Firm has a policy of non-discrimination in relation to the provision of services, taking instructions from clients and the use of Counsel and other experts or agents. No one may discriminate on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age when accepting instructions, providing a professional service or instructing third parties and each member of staff shall have regard to the guidance on non-discrimination issued by the Law Society and other relevant bodies from time to time.
6. Barristers (and other Experts)
Experts should be instructed on the basis of their skills, experience and ability. The Firm will not, on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age avoid briefing a barrister and will not request barristers’ clerks to do so.
Clients’ requests for a named barrister should be complied with, subject to the Firm’s duty to discuss with the client the suitability of the barrister and to advise appropriately.
The Firm has a duty to discuss with the client any request by the client that only a barrister of a particular sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age be instructed. The Firm will endeavour to persuade the client to modify instructions which appear to be given on discriminatory grounds. Should the client refuse to modify such instructions, the Firm will cease to act.
In relation to the instruction of Counsel, the Firm will be mindful of the provisions of sections 47 and 48 Equality Act 2010 (provisions regarding discrimination in relation to the giving, withholding or acceptance of instructions to a barrister).
The above provisions in relation to Barristers apply equally to the choice and instruction of other experts.
The firm will take steps to ensure that applications are attracted from both sexes and all races and from disabled people and people of all
ages, orientations and beliefs and will ensure that there are equal opportunities in all stages of the recruitment process.
Although it is unlawful positively to discriminate in favour of certain groups, positive action to enable greater representation of
under-represented groups is permitted by law and encouraged by the firm.
The firm will have regard to the Law Society’s policy on targets for the employment of ethnic minorities, as outlined in the Schedule to this Policy.
8. Promotion & Training
Promotion within the firm (including to partnership) is made without regard to sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin,
colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age and is based solely on merit. Facilities and opportunities for Training are dealt with in the same way.
9. Forms of Discrimination
The following are the kinds of discrimination which are against this firm’s policy:-
- Direct Discrimination: where a person is less favourably treated because of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age. An example is if someone is refused promotion on the grounds that he or she is black, disabled or a woman.
- Indirect Discrimination: where a requirement or condition which cannot be justified is applied equally to all groups but has a disproportionately adverse effect on one particular group. Examples include:
- where an age limit for new recruits may exclude women of that age group because they are not able to apply for a job as a result of family commitments;
- restriction of recruitment to areas where there are few ethnic minorities;3. or the imposition of a requirement not essential to the job description which may exclude a disabled person (e.g. requirement for a driving licence when a job is mainly office based).
- Victimisation: where someone is treated less favourably than others because he or she has taken action against the firm under one of the relevant Acts.
10. Maternity Policy
The maternity rights available to partners shall be no less favourable than those required by law for employees. In relation to its dealings with job applicants, employees or partners the firm will be mindful of the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and other relevant legislation.
Harassment in any form will not be allowed or condoned.
Definition – harassment means unwanted conduct on the grounds of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age, affecting the dignity of an employee or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual.
Sexual Harassment – means unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or other conduct based on sex, affecting the dignity of women and men at work. Sexual harassment can include:-
- Unwelcome sexual attention
- Subjecting someone to insults or ridicule because of their sex
- Suggesting that sexual favours may in some way further someone’s career or refusing sexual favours may damage it
- Lewd, suggestive or over familiar behaviour
- Display of pornographic or sexually suggestive pictures or written material
Harassment might also include the following kinds of behaviour (but the list is not intended to be exhaustive):
- derogatory comments, including remarks designed to undermine the dignity and self-esteem of the individual g. verbal abuse intended to humiliate or intimidate
- unwanted and unwarranted references to personal characteristics such as age, gender, racial or ethnic origin, religion, disability, sexual orientation
- persistent and unjustifiable criticism
- circulation of offensive images or literature
- inappropriate and unwanted physical contact
- physical assault
- persistent and inappropriate behaviour, which causes unease or discomfort to the recipient
12. Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
The firm will treat seriously and take action if an employee, client or third party raises a grievance as a result of discrimination. Anyone making such a complaint will be protected against victimisation or retaliation.
This policy will be strictly enforced. Breaches will be treated with severity. In particular, harassment including any unwanted or unwelcome behaviour or words of a sexual nature or relating to sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, ethnic origin, colour, nationality, national origin, disability, religion, belief or age will be dealt with by disciplinary action, and may result in dismissal.
The firm has appointed 2 Equal Opportunities Officers to whom breaches of this policy can be referred in strict confidence. The Officers are:-
Referrals will be treated in the strictest confidence as will any subsequent investigation or disciplinary action.A formal complaint about harassment should be pursued through the process set out in the grievance procedure.
11. Monitoring, Review and Training
This policy will be monitored by the firm to judge its effectiveness. Paul Scholey is responsible for this policy, and will review it annually or as required for compliance.
Codes of practice and other guidelines in relation to diversity and equal opportunities are held by PAS and are available to all staff.
Monitoring will include:
- a review of the latest snapshot of the firm’s make-up
- a review of any recruitment in the preceding year
- a review of any complaints made under this policy, or grievance/disciplinary procedures or ET proceedings concerning this policy
- a review of current training needs
All staff are reminded annually of the Partners’ firm commitment to comply with best practice and are asked to advise PAS at any time where they have any compliance issues wish to make comments/suggestions or are seeking guidance.
Any compliance issues are immediately reported by Paul Scholey to the next Partners’ meeting.
The firm will consult with the recognised Trade Union, Unite, in relation to equality and diversity issues.
The firm will seek to obtain and review diversity data from successful and unsuccessful job applicants.
The firm will conduct at least once every 5 years a survey of all staff to establish a “snapshot” of the firm’s diversity and general make up.
The firm will review the recruitment methods that it uses, and any recruitment literature or associated documentation, to see that it reflects best practice.
The firm will deliver training as appropriate and required to all personnel dealing with compliance with the firm’s equality and diversity
requirements and this policy in particular. Training may take the form of attendance at internal or external courses, on-line learning, individual reading/study, coaching/mentoring and such other forms as the firm from time to time shall determine.
Morrish Solicitors as a Service Provider
It is unlawful for us to discriminate against a disabled person:
- By refusing to provide (or deliberately not providing) any service which we provide to members of the public;
- In the standard of service which we provide to the disabled person or the manner in which we provide it; or
- In the terms on which we provide a service to the disabled person
- Providing a service includes providing goods or facilities.
It is also unlawful for us to discriminate by failing to make a reasonable adjustment where the effect of that failure is to make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for a disabled person to make use of our services, goods or facilities.
In summary, we endeavour to deliver the same services, to the same standard, and on the same terms, to all persons regardless of disability.
1. What reasonable adjustments will we make in providing our services?
Whilst this list is not exhaustive, we will consider all of the following:
- a. changing a practice, policy or procedure to make it easier for disabled people to use our services;
- providing a reasonable alternative method of making services available to disabled people where a physical feature makes it impossible or unreasonably difficult for the disabled person to make use of them;
- providing an auxiliary aid or service if that would enable or make it easier for disabled people to make use of our services.
We are conscious that some of our practices, developed over many years, might (albeit unintentionally) make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to make use of our services.
We will take reasonable steps to deal with such problems.
We are committed to reviewing our policies, procedures and practices on an ongoing basis to ensure that problems do not arise, or that
problems that have arisen are dealt with swiftly.
Our employees are encouraged to bring to the attention of the Equal Opportunities Officer any existing practices, policies or procedures that might fall foul of our responsibilities in this regard. Where possible employees are encouraged upon their own initiative to adopt practices, procedures and policies that make it easier for disabled people to take advantage of the services we offer. Where there is any doubt, reference should be made to the Equal Opportunities Officer. Our obligations cover:
- Our practice – what we do
- Our policy – what we intend to do
- And our plans for going about that – our procedure
We are required by Law to take action to remove or alter physical features of our premises (or provide a reasonable means of avoiding
those physical features) which make it impossible or unreasonably difficult for disabled people to use them.
We as an organisation are conscious of the need to facilitate access to our premises to all our disabled employees and the users of our services. As an ongoing policy we will monitor access to premises.
2. Examples of auxiliary aids/services
We will endeavour to provide auxiliary aids or services where doing so will make it easier for disabled people to take advantage of and benefit from our services.
As an example, for people with hearing disabilities, we will consider where appropriate all and any of the following (the list is not exhaustive):
- Written information (e.g. leaflet/guide)
- A facility for taking and exchanging written notes
- Accessible web sites
- Qualified sign language interpreters and lip speakers
- Typetalk (B.T.)
For people with visual impairments we will consider the following:
- Documents in large or clear print, Moon or Braille
- Information on computer diskette
- Information on audio tape
- Telephone services to supplement other information
These are simply examples of the types of auxiliary aid/service that we might be able to provide. We will monitor the effectiveness of our policy on an ongoing basis.
Throughout this code we have stressed the importance of monitoring the effectiveness of our anti-discrimination policies.
The Equal Opportunities Officers are responsible for monitoring.
It is the responsibility of the Officers to ensure that our practices, policies and procedures are monitored effectively.
The Officers can be approached by any of our employees or persons who use our services, for guidance, help and assistance.