Equal Opportunities Policy
Date of Publication: January 2019
Date for Review: January 2020
This Policy describes how Kingsmark Properties will provide equality of opportunity and fair treatment for all. Our mission is, “To promote equality and social justice in housing in Wales, to promote equality and diversity in housing, leading to the reductions of prejudice and disadvantage, as well as changing lives for the better”.
This includes: everyone who uses, or wishes to use, Kingsmark Properties services including tenants and landlords; members of the public, tradespeople; everyone who works for us, or who applies to work for us.
Kingsmark Properties supports housing providers and services to recognise, respect and respond appropriately to the diversity of housing needs and characteristics of people living in Wales, including those who are vulnerable and marginalised.
This Policy is informed by legislation, regulation and best practice.
Purpose of the Policy
The purpose of this policy is to state our organisation’s values on equality and diversity and show how the organisation will put these into practice. We want to show staff, potential staff and customers that Kingsmark Properties is serious about fairness.
Kingsmark Properties recognises and accepts its responsibility to ensure equality and diversity in all areas of operation.
It is our policy to be considerate of a prospective tenant’s circumstances when dealing with people who might be disadvantaged because of their age, illness, lack of understanding, lack of linguistic ability, economic circumstances or bereavement.
Prospective or existing tenants must not be treated less favourably than others because of their age, disability, gender, gender identity, race and nationality, religion or belief, sexual orientation or whether they have children or are pregnant. Unlawful direct discrimination and is also prohibited under the Equality Act.
Policy Aims and Objectives
In developing and implementing policies covering all aspects of our work, Kingsmark Properties will ensure that our strong principles and commitment to equality of opportunity are evident. As an organisation we are strongly committed to tackling discrimination, whether direct or indirect. As an organisation which seeks to promote equality, we recognise and encourage diversity.
Kingsmark Properties is committed to equality for all people. Kingsmark Properties is committed to operating in accordance with the 2010 Equality Act in the implementation of this Policy, in addition to any associated legislation laid out in the appendices of this document and relevant Codes of Practice.
The organisation will monitor its policies and procedures to ensure that this policy and its principles are upheld. Every executive, manager and employee have the responsibility to implement this policy.
All staff have a responsibility not to discriminate or harass other staff, customers, landlords, tenants and contractors. Any behaviour of this manner should be reported to Tracy Wilcox immediately.
Kingsmark Properties is an equal opportunity organisation, committed to ensuring that the terms and conditions are equitable and non-discriminatory. All Employees, Landlords, Tenants and anyone connected persons will be awarded fairly and irrespective of age, disability, gender, gender reassignment, material or civil partnership status, maternity or pregnancy, race including colour, ethnic or national origins or nationality, religion or belief or sexual orientation (“the protected characteristics”). We aim to create an environment that is free from discrimination and harassment in any form, in which staff, customers, landlords, tenants and contractors are treated with dignity and respect.
The organisation will seek to promote equal opportunities and prevent discrimination and harassment by communicating this policy; by providing appropriate training and guidelines for those with designated responsibilities and by raising awareness through staff development.
Kingsmark Properties is committed to ensuring that everyone is treated fairly, has equal access to services and is not discriminated against, harassed or victimised in relation the following protected characteristics identified under the Equality Act 2010:
This refers to an individual of a specific age (e.g. 32) or an age range (e.g. 18 – 30).
In the legislation, persons are defined as having a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.
This refers to the process of changing from one gender to the other (change from male to female or female to male) and comes under the equality aspect described as gender identity.
Marriage and Civil Partnerships
Marriage is defined as a formal union between a man and a woman or two people of the same sex. Same-sex couples can additionally have their relationships legally recognized as ‘civil partnerships’.. Civil partners must be treated in the same way as married couples in a wide range of legal matters.
Pregnancy and Maternity
Pregnancy is the condition of being pregnant or expecting a baby. Maternity refers to the period following birth and is associated with maternity leave in the employment contract. In a context apart from work, women are protected from being discriminated against based on maternity for 26 weeks after giving birth, and this includes treating a woman unfavourably because she is breastfeeding.
In legislation, this refers to a group of people defined according to their race, colour, nationality (including citizenship), or their ethnic or national origin.
Religion and Belief
Religion retains its usual meaning, but belief includes religious and philosophical creeds (e.g. Atheism). Generally, a belief should influence your life choices or the way you live for it to be included in the definition. People with no religious belief are also protected,
This refers to a man or a woman.
This refers to a person’s sexual attraction – are they attracted by people of the same sex, the opposite sex or people of both sexes. Although it is defined in legislation as a person’s sexual attraction, sexual orientation is a combination of emotional, romantic, sexual or affectionate attraction towards another person.
Discrimination is defined in several ways. It may be deliberate or unconscious. It may occur on an individual level (person to person) or on an institutional level.
The Equality Act (2010) expects that all staff and contractors of Kingsmark Properties are aware of and understand the different ways in which discrimination can happen.
Treating an individual less fairly/worse than another individual because of a protected characteristic.
e.g. – Refusing someone housing advice because of their sexual orientation.
This happens when a service provider or employer sets out a rule, policy or way of doing things which is relevant to all but has a worse effect on someone with a protected characteristic than on someone without such a characteristic, when this cannot be objectively justified.
e.g. A letting agency has a policy of reminding service users of coming appointments by phoning them. This puts deaf people who cannot use a phone at a disadvantage, since they will not be reminded of the appointment.
This happens when an individual behaves in an unpleasant manner which transgresses someone else’s dignity, or is aggressive, degrading, insulting or humiliating towards someone with a protected characteristic. It may be of a sexual nature.
e.g. – A customer in reception happens to hear a staff member making racist remarks. This is an example of harassment since it creates a threatening and degrading atmosphere which humiliates the customer and affronts his/her dignity.
Treating someone unfavourably because they have taken (or possibly intend to take) steps under the 2010 Equality Act or is supporting someone who is taking steps.
e.g. – A manager who refuses to consider someone for promotion because that individual has given evidence on behalf of a colleague who made a complaint about unlawful sexual discrimination.
Discrimination by Perception
People are protected against someone (wrongly) perceiving that they have one of the protected characteristics and discriminating against them and treating them less favourably/worse because of this.
Discrimination by Association
People are protected against someone discriminating against them because of their association with someone who has a protected characteristic. This includes the parent of a disabled child or adult or someone else who is a carer for a disabled person.
Discrimination based on matters arising from a disability
Treating a disabled individual unfavourably because of something associated with the disability when this cannot be justified.
Raising Awareness and Providing Guidance
Kingsmark Properties will ensure that our employees, potential employees and customers are aware of this policy by distributing a copy to all employees, and to other workers on their engagement. Job seekers, applicants and customers will be sent a copy of the policy on request.
It is important that all our staff are fully aware of this policy, and the importance of equality and diversity issues. To this end, all staff will receive briefing on this policy annually.
This policy does not form part of the employment contract and may be changed at any time. The policy will be reviewed annually and changed accordingly.
Harassment and Bullying
Harassment and discrimination in relation to age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage or civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation is unlawful, and employees and customers of Kingsmark Properties have the right to be treated with dignity and respect. Harassment is not acceptable, and Kingsmark Properties will neither permit nor tolerate it.
Kingsmark Properties as an employer, and employees as individuals may be open to legal challenges under equality and diversity legislation. As an employer, Kingsmark Properties must be able to demonstrate that its employment policies and procedures are fair and effective across the organisation.
Any complaint by a member of the public will be investigated in accordance with the corporate Complaints Policy.
Good Practice and Strategy
Kingsmark Properties will strive to achieve equality of opportunity and treatment for all in all that we do. We will do this irrespective of any protected characteristic a person might have or be perceived to have. We will consider the needs of hard to reach groups and will make reasonable adjustment, if possible, to assist people to access our services. We will combat discrimination and adapt the ways that we Overall Equalities Objectives: We will adopt policies, procedures and working practices which are responsive to the needs of all people living, or wishing to live, in our properties. We will seek to ensure that our Management Committee and staff translate our equalities objectives into effective action. We will meet our legal obligations and go beyond these to achieve good practice in equalities issues. We will listen to the views and needs of all sections of the community when reviewing our policies, plans and service standards. We will monitor our performance closely to ensure that all groups have equal access and experience fair outcomes. We will be open and realistic in identifying where we can make improvements. We will communicate our improvement plans to tenants, Landlords and other stakeholders and will ensure this is reflected in a Communication Strategy and work to reflect the needs of all sections of our community.
Legal Obligations and Good Practice
Kingsmark Properties will comply with the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s Guidance and Code of Practice for Landlords and Agents Licensed under Part 1 of the (Welsh) housing Act 1984
Our Policy recognises the protected characteristics as defined by the Equalities Act:
4) Marriage and civil partnership
5) Pregnancy and maternity
7) Religion or belief
9) Sexual Harassment
Kingsmark Properties will meet our legal obligations and go beyond these to achieve good practice in equalities issues. We will listen to the views and needs of all sections of the community when reviewing our policies, plans and service standards. We will monitor our performance closely to ensure that all groups have equal access and experience fair outcomes. We will be open and realistic in identifying where we can make improvements. We will take steps to ensure that no applicant or employee receives less favourable treatment and that, wherever possible, we assist applicants on a genuine basis of equality and give our staff the help they need to attain their full potential.
Should you require this document in an alternative format, please contact us.
For further information about this policy please contact:
Name: Tracy Wilcox
Position: Rental Manager